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Archive for ‘e-Zine for Savvy Selections wine of the month club’

We’re now delivering BC wines!

Posted by David

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

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

 

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

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

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

 

Wines with style

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

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

Cheers!
-Debbie & Savvy Team

 

 

Introducing…

Noble Ridge Vineyards and Winery

Presented by Sommelier David Loan

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

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

 

Unique terroir

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

All about the curtain

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

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

 

Cross-border shopping

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

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

 

A day in the vineyard

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

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

 

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

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

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

 

2013 Reserve Chardonnay, $29.90

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

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

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

Cellaring:  Drink at 8º C within two years.

 

 

2014 Reserve Pinot Noir, $29.90

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

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

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

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

 

 

2014 Reserve Meritage, $34.90

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

 

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

Recipe and photo: Epicurious.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

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

 

Method

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

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

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


 

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

Recipe and photo: Melskitchencafe.com
Serves 4

Ingredients

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

Method

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

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

Preheat a grill to medium heat.

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

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

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

 

 

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

Recipe and photo: Epicurious.com
Serves 8

Ingredients

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

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

Special equipment: an instant-read thermometer

 

Method

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

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

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

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

Cut each rack into 4 double chops. 

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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

Posted by Susan

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

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

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

 

World Class Wines

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

 

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

To get the Canada 150 celebration started, we selected:

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

 

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

 

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

 

Introducing…
Benjamin Bridge

Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

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

 

The Early Years

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

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

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

 

The Unique Terroir

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

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

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

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

The Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

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

 

Méthode Classique Brut Reserve NV, $27.95

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

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

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

Cellaring: Enjoy now and cellar up to 10 years.

 

Tidal Bay 2016, $21.95

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

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

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

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

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

 

Riesling 2015, $30.95

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

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

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

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


 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

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

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

 

With Benjamin Bridge Brut NV…
Roasted Mushroom and Brie Tart

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

Ingredients

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

Method

Preheat oven to 400F.

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

Ingredients

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

Method

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

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

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

 

 

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

Recipe & Photo Credit: Oceanaire.com
Serves 8

Ingredients

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

Method

Heat oven to 400F.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Happy Canada 150!

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Grilling a winemaker with 20 Questions!

Posted by Debbie

Monday, May 15th, 2017
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One of the oldest and best established wineries in Prince Edward County, Huff Estates has blazed the trail for the County’s cool climate techniques. From burying vines in winter to experimenting with sparkling wines, Huff is always at the forefront.

In this month’s Savvy Selections, we’re trying a new format to discover more about what life is like for Huff Estates’ long-serving winemaker, Frédéric Picard, with his answers to our Twenty Questions.

 

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find three of our favorite Huff wines that we chose for you:

2014 South Bay Vineyard Chardonnay Rich and flavourful, with just a whisper of oak.

2013 Gamay – A savoury red that leaves a big impression.

2014 South Bay Vineyard Merlot – Replete with ripe fruit and mouthwatering acidity, this is a great food wine.

 

The Best of the County

Huff Estates has built its reputation on offering dependable, delicious wines that show off Prince Edward County’s unique terroir. These wines are ready to drink, though they could be cellared for a year or two. Our Savvy Sommeliers know you’ll love them as much as we do!

Cheers!

-Debbie & Savvy Team

 

 

Introducing…

20 Questions with Frédéric Picard
Presented by Sommelier David Loan

We are trying something different  for fun &  to keep  digging deeper to get some interesting ‘dirt’ (being a it cheeky here) about  the dynamic people behind the wines that we feature.   Not only are they great winemakers, they are people too with neat stories about how they got into the wine world.

No one likes to be in the hot seat with Twenty Questions being fired at you for quick on-the-spot answers.  Here we present Frederic Picard & his backstory…(imagine said with his French accent!)

 

Location: Huff Estates

Current Job: Winemaker

What drink would you like right this minute?
A beer. I’m a winemaker! (says with a chuckle)

When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A mechanic.

What was the very first winery that you ever visited?
A winery in Meursault with my Dad. I was very young.

What wine got you hooked?
Burgundy wines, especially chardonnays.

Take a few minutes and jot down the path to becoming the winemaker you are today:
Adventurous, curious, enthusiast and wine lover!

My winemaking style in 3 words:
Balance, elegance and respectful.

Is there music playing in the cellar right now?
No.

Favorite thing about the local wine industry: 
You can taste and compare with what you make.

Favorite thing about growing grapes:
Making wine with them!

What part of winemaking are you always trying new things?
Fermentation and barrel ageing.

What is the unglamorous thing about winemaking?
Cleaning.

Industry Mentors:
All the winemakers I worked with.

Personal Mentors:
My parents.

What wine region do you want to visit next?
Rioja.

One surprising thing that I’m really good at:
Cleaning!

When is your birthday (no year required!)
May 24th.

My Birthday “Favorite Meal”:
Good cheeses, fresh bread and   wines that I never tasted before.

A funny moment you remember about visitors coming to the winery:
A group of people came a few years ago and started to sing in the middle of the retail store! It was really nice and unexpected!

We hope you love these beautiful Huff wines every bit as much as we do!

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

For your Savvy Selection this month, we’ve chosen three wines that beautifully showcase Frederic’s talent. We know that you’ll love the remarkable flavours of these unique wines, along with some delicious recipes that will perfectly match food and drink.

 

South Bay Vineyards Chardonnay VQA Prince Edward County 2014
$30

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Winner of the 2016 Intervin “Honours” medal and Wine Align 2016 Silver medal, we think you’ll find this a big winner, too! The nose offers classic Chardonnay notes: apricot, green apple, and peach with a hint of minerality. There’s some nice acid on the finish, along with more of that peach and steeliness. But it also offers coconut and nuts, showing the winemaker’s delicate touch with oak.

Suggested Food Pairings: How about a pumpkin ravioli with cream sauce for your après ski supper? This will be perfect! Recipe below.

Cellaring:  Drink at 8-9ºC within two years.

 

 

Gamay VQA Creek Shores 2013,
$25

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Gamay is a grape that does very well in Ontario’s cool climate, where it often produces lighter bodied wines.

Here’s an exception: Huff’s Gamay has big flavours of candied dark cherries, smoke, and leather in a medium bodied wine. Tannins are soft but chewy, and there’s a hint of black licorice on the lonnnggg finish.

Suggested Food Pairings: Our tasting team had lots of ideas for this one: pork tenderloin, roast chicken, chicken pot pie. But we settled on something a bit more exotic – Mongolian Hot Pot! Recipe follows

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, this could be cellared for up to three years. Serve cool but not cold: 12-14ºC.

 

 

 South Bay Vineyards Merlot VQA Prince Edward County 2014
Savvy Special Price: $32 (regular $40)

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Pouring an opaque purple, this full-bodied Merlot was a hit with our tasters! There’s lots of dark fruit and chocolate here, with notes of coffee, plums, leather, and jam. The acidity is on the higher side, so this is VERY food-friendly. Tannins are soft and elegant.

Suggested Food Pairings: Here’s a terrific wine for your Sunday roast beef, served with a traditional Yorkshire pudding. Recipe below.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, this can cellar 3-5 years. Serve at 14-16ºC.

 

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Huff South Bay Vineyards Chardonnay …
Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Cream Sauce

Recipe & Photo credit: Epicurious.com
Serves 4-6

 

Ingredients

1 8- to 9-ounce package refrigerated pumpkin or squash ravioli
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or 1 1/2 teaspoons crumbled dried sage leaves
3/4 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup whipping cream
Parmesan cheese shavings

 

Method

Cook ravioli in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, about 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add pecans and stir until slightly darker and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer pecans to small bowl. Add shallots and sage to same skillet. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine and cream. Increase heat and boil until sauce is reduced to generous 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes.

Add ravioli to sauce; toss. Season with salt and pepper. Divide between bowls. Sprinkle with pecans and Parmesan.

 

 

With Huff Gamay…
Mongolian Hot Pot

Recipe and photo: Thewoksoflife.com
Serves 4

Don’t get put off by the number of ingredients here. You can as many or as few condiments as you wish, and the list of dipping items is entirely optional to your tastes.

Ingredients

For the soup base:

2 tablespoons oil
6 slices ginger
3-5 bay leaves
10 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cinnamon stick
5 star anise
10 cloves
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
12 whole dried red chilies
1 package spicy hot pot soup base
12-15 cups chicken stock

 

Optional condiment:

Soy sauce
Sacha sauce
Chili oil or paste
Chinese black vinegar or rice vinegar
Sesame paste or peanut butter
Sesame oil
Sesame seeds
Chopped peanuts
Chopped cilantro
Chopped scallions
Chopped garlic

 

Suggested items for cooking:

Thinly shaved beef or lamb
Sliced chicken
Assorted fish balls (you can buy these pre-made at Asian grocery stores)
Thinly sliced fish fillets (tender white fish like tilapia or sea bass work well for this)
Slices of firm tofu
Soy puffs (fried tofu puffs)
Straw, Shiitake or Wood Ear mushrooms
Fresh noodles
Glass noodles (mung bean vermicelli)
Prepared frozen dumplings or wontons
Chinese rice cakes (like these)
Choy sum or bok choy
Green leaf lettuce
Napa cabbage

 

 

Method

For the soup base:

In a wok over medium heat, add the oil and the ginger. Cook the ginger for about a minute until caramelized, making sure it doesn’t burn. Add the bay leaves, whole garlic cloves, cinnamon stick, star anise, and cloves. Cook for another 2 minutes, until very fragrant.

Add the Sichuan peppercorns, dried chilies (whole), and the spicy hot pot soup base. Cook for another 2 minutes, and then add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and transfer to the pot you’ll be using for your hot pot meal. You want the pot to be relatively wide and at least 6 inches deep.

To make the dipping sauce, simply combine whatever mix of ingredients you like.

To assemble the hotpot, simply plug in your hot plate, place the prepared pot of broth on top, and bring to a low boil or simmer. Place all your prepared ingredients around it, have everyone mix up their own dipping sauces, and dive in.

Each person just takes whatever they want, adds it to the pot, waits for it to cook, and then dips it into their sauce. As the water evaporates as you’re cooking, add boiling water to the pot as needed. You can also serve rice with hot pot (we do), but it’s not mandatory.

 

 

With Huff South Bay Vineyards Merlot…
Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding

Recipe & Photo credits FoodNetwork.ca
Serves  4

 

Ingredients

Fore rib beef (about 4 kg), French trimmed, on the bone, chined
Olive oil
Salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

 

For the Yorkshire pudding:

3 eggs
115g/4oz flour
275ml/½ pint milk
Beef dripping
Salt

 

Method

Preheat the oven to its highest setting.

Rub the beef with the olive oil, salt and pepper all over.

Put a heavy-based roasting tray on the hob and when hot, add the beef. Sear the beef quickly on all sides to colour and crisp the outside.

Transfer the beef immediately to the oven and leave the oven on its highest setting (about 460F) for 20 minutes.

Reduce the heat to 375F and roast for half an hour per kilo for rare, adding another ten minutes per kilo for medium rare, 20 minutes per kilo for medium, and 30 minutes per kilo for well done. Remove the beef from the oven, transfer it to a carving board and cover with foil. Allow it to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.

For the Yorkshire pudding, mix together the eggs, flour and a pinch of salt. Add the milk, stirring constantly, until you have a runny batter. Leave this to rest, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours.

Place ½ inch of beef dripping in the bottom of each pudding mould, or if you are using a rectangular roasting tray, place ½ inch of beef dripping across the bottom. Heat the dripping in the oven (at 460F) for about ten minutes, until it is piping hot.

Remove the roasting tray from the oven, pour in the batter, and immediately return to the oven. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown and crispy, making sure not to open the oven door for the first 20 minutes.

Serve immediately with the carved roast beef.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

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A Vegan Winery?

Posted by David

Thursday, May 4th, 2017
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What’s in your wine? Many wine drinkers aren’t aware that wines commonly have additives like gelatin, eggs, or milk products added to them to adjust the flavours or help clarify the wine. Most of those additives come out of the wine again before bottling, but some people are still uncomfortable with the idea.

This month in Savvy Selections, we feature award-winning wines from Prince Edward County’s  Karlo Estates. Karlo produces a selection of delicious, food-friendly whites, rosés and reds, and they’re also the only “plant-based” winery in the world. We give you the vegan backstory on the following pages.

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find 3 of our Sommelier’s favourite Karlo Estates wines. 

2015 Niagara Peninsula Riesling Crisp and refreshing!
2015 Patio Reserve Rosé – Proving how flavourful rosé can be.
2013 Triumvirate – Food-friendly, with bracing acidity and wow! flavours.

 

Wines with style

Karlo takes full advantage of Prince Edward County’s unique terroir to make wines that are distinct and elegant. Our Savvy Sommeliers know you’ll love them as much as we do. Call on us at anytime you would like additional bottles of your favourite Karlo Estates wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections.

Your Canadian Wine Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca

 

Meet Sherry, Derek & the Karlo Team at Terroir – Wine Celebration in Picton on Saturday May 13 where all of Prince Edward County will be under one roof.  This all day event will be filled with delicious discoveries.  See you there!

Cheers,

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

 

Introducing…

Karlo Estates

Presented by Sommelier David Loan

When Sherry Martin Karlo (in photo) was in university, she noticed two things: she was broke, and she was putting on the dreaded ‘freshman fifteen’. “I started eating mostly vegetables and realized I was losing weight,” Sherry said. “Then I went to a slaughterhouse seminar at the Toronto Veg Food Fest and that convinced me to stick to a plant-based diet.”

 

New opportunities

At that same time, Sherry and her soon-to-be husband Richard Karlo founded Karlo Estates in Prince Edward County in 2005. They built the winery from scratch.

Richard had a passion for making wine and developed his talent and skills through twenty years of very successful home wine making, winning a spectacular number of awards along the way. “When I talked to Richard about diet from an environmental standpoint,” Sherry said, “he realized that he was already making plant-based wines and that it was a growing movement. As a businessman, he realized it was an opportunity he could capture.”

I asked Sherry to explain what she meant by “plant-based” wines. After all, don’t all wines come from grapes? “I like to use a coffee-press analogy,” she starts to explain. “Just like a coffee-press, a vat of wine has a lot of bits of grape and skin and pulp floating around in it. Winemakers add heavier ingredients, like egg whites or milk products or gelatin, which cling to the grape bits and weight them down so they’re easier to remove.”

“At Karlo, we take a different approach.  We use time and gravity to settle out the grape bits.  If we have to intervene to help the process along, we use bentonite clay as a binding agent rather than animal products. We try to avoid the need to adjust the acids or tannins, but if we do, we use potato or pumpkin proteins. It makes it harder to make the wines but people tell us it gives the wine a cleaner profile.”

 

Bridges and turnings

An engineer by trade, Richard led an important side project: building an immense dry-stone bridge over a creek on the property. In addition to being the largest bridge of its kind in North America, the keystone provides Karlo Estates with its iconic logo. Sadly, and with very little warning, Richard was taken by cancer at the end of November, 2014.  The wine community mourned this giant of the industry, who had always lent a helping hand to others. Many – including the Savvy Team – reached out to help.

 

Moving forward

Sherry was able to bring famed winemaker Derek Barnett (right in photo) onboard. Derek had won acclaim at Southbrook Winery and Lailey Vineyards.  “It is a complete pleasure to work with Derek,” Sherry said. “My late husband Richard left huge shoes to fill, and Derek is doing a great job. He’s a big teddy bear and he’s so talented and so nice.

Sherry explained, “2013 was a great vintage. What’s interesting about those wines is that Richard started them but Derek shepherded them into the bottle. 2015 on the other hand was Derek’s first vintage. He joined me at harvest, so they’re his beginning to end.” Sherry said they’re committed to developing great Prince Edward County wines from their own 14 acres of vineyards, but they’re not afraid to bring in Niagara fruit. “We source from Vineland and Niagara so we can get grapes that don’t grow well here, or to do styles that require a different terroir,” she said.

 

Taste of the County

Sherry is proud that The County offers flavours that are unique in the world of wine.   “The County is more nuanced and elegant than other Ontario regions. We have more acidity – it’s a bit more keynote. Our wines are really food friendly because you have the acidity to cut through the fats and the creams. They’re more contemplative.”

We know you’ll agree when you taste these beautiful wines from Karlo Estates!

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

For your Savvy Selection this month, we’ve chosen three wines that demonstrate the powerful elegance of Karlo wines.  We are confident that you’ll love the stunning flavours of these wines, along with some delicious recipes that will perfectly match food and drink.

 

2015 Riesling, $22

Did you know that Ontario produces some of the best Riesling in the world? Or that Riesling is a fantastic, food-friendly wine that shines in summer?

Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Bright straw with a gold hue, this is a wonderful example of dry Ontario Riesling. There are aromas of light petrol (the classic Riesling flavour!), lime, and tart green apple. High acidity. Dry, but with a drop of residual sugar. Tart and puckering with great minerality and just a hint of peach.  The finish is bracing with flavours of limes and green apples.

Suggested Food Pairings: The bright acidity and hint of sweetness on the finish will work well with spicy and fatty foods. Try it with a Thai Red Curry (recipe below).

Cellaring:  Drink at 8ºC within two years.

 

 

2015 Patio Reserve Rosé, $18

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: I mainly drink rosé in the summer. I find the big flavours of a good, dry rosé very satisfying while being refreshed from the well-chilled wine.  Karlo’s Patio Reserve is made from Frontenac Noir grapes blended with a little Vidal. Frontenac was developed to thrive in our cold climate and it offers fruity, satisfying flavours.

This wine tastes of cherry, strawberry, peach, and mint. It’s mostly dry, with a hint of sweetness to balance the bright acidity. Best comparison? Strawberries and rhubarb! There’s a long, tart strawberry finish. Yum!

Suggested Food Pairings: Off-dry wines pair beautifully with spicy food, and this is no exception. Try spicy paella made with a mix of fresh and preserved vegetables (recipe below).

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, this could be cellared for up to 2 years. Serve between 8-10ºC.

 

 

2013 Triumvirate, $28

Named for the Roman practice of three rulers working together, Triumvirate is blended from Cabernet Sauvignon 62.5%, Cabernet Franc 25%, and Merlot 12.5%.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Opaque cherry in colour, there area are big, fruity aromas of blackberries, leather, smoke, black cherries, and mint. On the palate, there’s more of a tart cherry presence, with the smoke and mint and a hint of alcohol. Good, chewy tannins and medium-plus acidity, this has a long tannic and tart cherry finish. This wine is meant to go with good food!

Suggested Food Pairings: The mouth-watering acidity and fresh fruit notes make us think Italian. And what better time than spring to try a new way of serving pasta? Serve this bright wine alongside pasta with ramps, fiddleheads, and sausage (recipe below).

Cellaring: Drinking well now, this can cellar 3-5 years. Serve at 14-16ºC.

 

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

Since we’re having plant-based wine, let’s try some flavourful veg dishes for a warm spring or hot summer’s day or make it a Meatless Monday!

 

With Karlo Estates Riesling…

Veggie Thai Red Curry

Recipe & Photo credit: BBCGoodFood.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

200g firm tofu, cubed
4-5 tbsp soy sauce
Juice 3 limes
2 red chillies – minced
1 zucchini – chopped into 1” pieces
1 small eggplant – chopped into 1” pieces
2 tbsp vegetable oil
400ml can reduced-fat coconut milk
½ red pepper – deseeded and chopped into chunks
140g mushrooms, – halved
140g sugar snap pea
20g pack basil leaves – chopped
1 tsp brown sugar
Cooked jasmine rice to serve

 

Paste

Make a fresh spice paste or use your favourite bottled or dry curry spice!

3 red chillies
1 lemongrass, roughly chopped
3 shallots, roughly chopped
½ red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
Zest 1 lime
Stalks from 20g pack coriander
Thumb-size piece ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp ground coriander

 

Method

Whiz the paste ingredients in a food processor. Marinate the tofu in 2 tbsp soy sauce, juice 1 lime and the chopped chilli.

Heat half the oil in a large pan. Add 3-4 tbsp paste and fry for 2 mins. Stir in the coconut milk with 100ml water, the zucchini, eggplant, and pepper and cook for 10 mins until almost tender.

Drain the tofu, pat dry, then fry in the remaining oil in a small pan until golden.

Add the mushrooms, sugar snaps and most of the basil to the curry, then season with the sugar, remaining lime juice and soy sauce. Cook for 4 mins until the mushrooms are tender, then add the tofu and heat through. Scatter with sliced chilli and basil and serve with jasmine rice.

 

 

With Karlo Estates Patio Rosé…

Paella

Recipe and photo: CrazyVeganKitchen.com
Serves 4

 

Ingredients

2 ½  cups Vegetable Stock
½  teaspoon Saffron Threads
1 ½  Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 large Red Onion – sliced
1 Yellow Bell Pepper – sliced
1 Red Bell Pepper – sliced
1 cup Brown Mushrooms – sliced
3 cloves garlic – minced
1 cup Bomba Rice (or use another short-grain rice)
2 Roma Tomatoes – chopped
1 ½  teaspoons Smoked Paprika
Salt/Pepper
1 cup Green Peas
1 can Artichoke Hearts – drained and chopped
½  cup Parsley – chopped

 

Method

Combine the stock and saffron threads in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and maintain a simmer. Meanwhile, heat paella pan on the stove with 1 1/2 tablespoons Olive Oil.

Add Onion to Paella Pan and sauté for 2 minutes. Add sliced red and yellow pepper and continue to sautée till softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes or until it has softened slightly. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add Bomba rice, tomato and smoked paprika and cook, stirring, for 1 minute until well mixed through. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add one-third of the saffron infused stock and stir until just combined. Let simmer uncovered for 5 minutes or until liquid is almost absorbed.

Add the next third of the stock and cook for 5 minutes uncovered or until almost absorbed. Add remaining third of stock and cook for 5-10 minutes uncovered.

Sprinkle surface of paella with peas and artichoke hearts. Cover entire pan in tin foil and leave to cook on a low heat for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, turn heat off but leave the paella pan covered with tin foil for another 10 minutes.

Remove tin foil after 10 minutes and garnish with parsley.

 

 

With Karlo Estates Triumvirate…

Pasta with ramps, fiddleheads & sausage

Recipe and photo: TinyUrbanKitchen.com
Serves: 4

TIP: If you want to veg-ify this recipe, substitute some of the excellent commercial veggie sausages that are widely available from companies such as Field Roast or Tofurky.

Ramps (aka Wild Garlic) and fiddleheads are available at farmers’ markets each spring.

 

Ingredients

Ramps, 1 large bunch (4-6 stalks)
Olive oil, 1 teaspoon
Fiddleheads (optional)
Veggie Sausage, about 6-8 oz
Pasta, 12 oz, fresh, or 8 oz dried
Chili flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Method

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. If making dry pasta (8-12 min cook time), add pasta to the pot before beginning to cook the ramps. If using fresh pasta (1-2 min cook time), begin making pasta after the “sauce” part is done.

Cut up the ramp bulbs (white section) into small pieces and separate it from the leaves. Coarsely chop the leaves into 1-2 inch sections. Saute the ramps bulbs in olive oil over medium heat until they soften, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the sausage and break apart the meat with a spatula. Add the ramp greens and the optional fiddleheads. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once pasta is done cooking, add the cooked pasta and some pasta water (maybe start with ¼ cup?) to the ramps/sausage mixture and stir it all together. If you want it spicy, optionally add red pepper flakes. Since my sausage was spicy I didn’t add any.

 

 

Enjoy the spring with your Savvy Selections!

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“Dad…Dad…buy a winery!”

Posted by David

Monday, March 13th, 2017
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When you have generations of winemakers in your family tree, the word “tradition” takes on a new meaning. This month in Savvy Selections, we feature fabulous wines from Niagara’s  Di Profio Wines. A family run operation that specializes in small batch, hand-made wines, Di Profio has quickly built a reputation for their excellent products. You can read all about their approach to winemaking in our Di Profio profile, below.

 

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find 3 of our favourite Di Profio picks. We love how they offer a variety of flavours and styles!

2015 Sparkling Aromatic Gamay Rosie Light and lively are the key words for this bubblegum pink sparkling wine.

2015 Kitchen Zinc – Blended from seven grape varieties, you’ll love how pretty and well-balanced this white wine is.

2013 Zinc-tastic – Here’s an example big red wine Fred Di Profio has become famous for: Cab-Merlot in perfect harmony!

 

Wines with power & elegance

Di Profio is making wines that will entice the most discerning of palates. Each one is unique, offering flavours and aromas that you would expect only from much more expensive products. These wines are read to drink, though most of them can handle cellaring for a few years, too. Our Savvy Sommeliers know you’ll love them as much as we do!

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

Cheers!
-Debbie & Savvy Team

 

 

Introducing…

Di Profio Wines
presented by Sommelier David Loan

“Traditional” is a word we like to use a lot in the wine industry. It calls to mind the ancient history of winemaking, and connects the New World to the Old. But only a few Ontario wineries have the family roots to show that winemaking is a family legacy, a true tradition that forms part of the winery’s heritage.

Deep Roots

At Di Profio Wines, the winemaker’s roots go as deep as his vineyards. “My father’s family for generations were farming in a well-known region of Italy called Abruzzi,” Di Profio’s winemaker Fred Di Profio remembers. “My grandfather, Giuseppe, left and they eventually sold off their vineyards, but he continued making wine as many Italian immigrants do, in his cellar.” Fred’s father, Joseph, watched his own father make wine, but didn’t have much interest in the process when he grew up.

Fred, however, decided to study winemaking and began to work as a “cellar rat” at a variety of wineries in Niagara and elsewhere. He eventually took over as winemaker at Pondview Estates Winery (the winery we featured in Savvy Selections just 3 months ago – December 2016). 

Family Business

That’s when his dad, Joseph, got interested, too. “My father saw how gratifying it was for me to make wine and he thought, I should rekindle my childhood memories of MY father making wine,” Fred said. “He had a great time and learned something new and together we naturally found our family roots.” With Fred’s advice, Joseph bought some vineyards near Jordan Station in the Niagara Escarpment. Of course, he immediately enlisted Fred to run the operation.

Building Up

Joseph spearheaded building a new winery and tasting room. One of his biggest concerns was the bar. “Fred was looking for an interesting material for the tasting bar top,” Joseph said. “And he found a wine bar in Italy with a zinc countertop. Zinc oxidizes in a really neat way. Spilled wine produces a really nice patina – the older and more used, the more personality it develops. Joe got some zinc sheets and used them to cover our beautiful tasting bar.”

Joseph liked the material so much, in fact, that the tasting room is called The Zinc. And some of the wine labels playfully use the word, too.

Ready for Reds

Fred has developed a reputation for making big, bold red wines.  In the cool climate region like Niagara, Cabernet Sauvignon can be challenging for those grapes. Fred explained to me that extra time spent in the vineyard makes all the difference. “We always adapt to the climactic conditions. Even in the cooler growing seasons, there are a number of tools we can use in the vineyard to accommodate to any climate, which can vary from year to year,” he said. “Crop thinning to give the vines a helping hand, canopy management to vary the shade levels – more leaves in hot seasons, less in cooler seasons. The secret is patience and good vineyard practices.”

We’re Convinced!

Since Di Profio Wines opened in 2012, the father and son duo (and mother Carollynn had her hand in it too running the B&B next to the winery), Joseph and Fred have quickly built a reputation for high-quality wines. Dedicated to small batch production, and producing only wines from estate vineyards, they are leading a new movement in Niagara winemaking, one that looks to the future while embracing, yes, the traditional.

We are proud to offer you our favourite picks from the Di Profio portfolio. We’re confident that every bottle in the Savvy Selections that you open will leave you wanting more!

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

For your Savvy Selection this month, we’ve chosen three wines that demonstrate the powerful elegance of Di Profio wines.  We know that you’ll love the subtle flavours of these stunning wines, along with some delicious recipes that will perfectly match food and drink.

 

2015 Sparkling Aromatic Gamay Rosie (VQA Creek Shores)
$25

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Named for Joe’s mother, Rosie (and bearing her image on the label), this Gamay sparkler is perfect for a romantic evening! There’s so much going on here: candied citrus, cherry gumdrops, pink marshmallows. It’s dry and refreshing, and finishes on the palate with watermelon and strawberry notes. The mousse is light, with fine bubbles.

Suggested Food Pairings: Our tasters agreed that this will go well with fish and seafood. We think a nice Trout Almandine will be a perfect pairing. (Recipe below.)

Cellaring:  Drink at 8ºC within a year.

 

2015 Kitchen Zinc (VQA Ontario)
$18

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Want to know what grapes this is made from: Chardonnay Musque (a cousin of the Chardonnay we know and love); Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, Chardonnay, Vidal, and Pinot Gris.

Pretty and aromatic, it has fresh floral and orange notes, with flavours of rose and honey. Medium acidity balances the light sweetness.

Suggested Food Pairings: Off-dry wines pair beautifully with spicy food, and this is no exception. We suggest a chipotle black bean chili. Recipe follows.

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, this could be cellared for up to 2 years. Serve between 10-14ºC.

 

2013 Zinc-tastic (VQA Niagara Peninsula)
$23

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Sixty-four per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and Thirty-six per cent Merlot, the Zinc-tastic showcases Fred Di Profio’s talent with making big red wines.

With loads of dark fruit flavours and aromas of cigar box, coffee, and chocolate, this has medium, elegant tannins and medium acidity. Our tasters all thought that this is a steal at the price!

Suggested Food Pairings: We want to pick up on the fruit and smoky flavours of the Zinc-tastic. So, we turned to one of our favourite culinary regions – Provence – and a very old stew recipe: Daube de Boeuf Jeannette.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, this can cellar 3-5 years. Serve at 14-16ºC.

 

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

 

With Di Profio Sparkling Aromatic Gamay Rosie…

Trout Almandine

Recipe & Photo credit: MarthaStewart.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup milk
4 trout fillets
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

 

Method

Lightly toast the almonds in a saute pan. Reserve. Combine the flour, salt, and cayenne pepper in a small, flat dish. Pour the milk into another one. Place the trout fillets in the milk.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter. Dredge the fillets in the flour mixture on both sides. Add to the pan and increase heat. Put the garlic cloves in the pan and swirl it around.

Turn the trout after 2 minutes and remove the garlic (you don’t want it to brown). Cook until the fish is cooked through and lightly golden brown, about 1 or 2 more minutes. Scatter the almonds over top. Serve immediately.


With Di Profio Kitchen Zinc…

Chipotle black bean chili

Recipe and photo: MyRecipes.com
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained
2 (14.5-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
Cilantro sprigs (optional)

 

Method

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add chili powder and next 6 ingredients (chili powder through green chiles); bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Ladle chili into individual bowls, and garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Serve with corn chips or corn bread.

 

 

With Di Profio Zinc-tastic…

Daube de Boeuf Jeannette

Recipe: Chicago Tribune
Photo credit: SAQ
Serves 5-6

Ingredients

8-10 canned anchovy fillets, optional
3 1/2 pounds lean beef stew, preferably top round, cut into 1-inch cubes
6 ounces lean bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, mashed

Peel from an orange, dried
1 onion, studded with 3 cloves
2 1/2 cups dry red wine
Beef broth, or water and bouillon cubes
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
Large bouquet garni (2 small celery ribs tied with a bunch of parsley sprigs, a few thyme stalks, and a bay leaf between)
Salt, pepper to taste
4 ounces tiny Nicoise olives, pitted
1 Tablespoon minced basil or parsley

 

Method

If you choose to use the anchovy fillets, insert a small piece in each beef cube, using a pointed knife, then set aside. Plunge the bacon into rapidly boiling water for 6 to 7 minutes, rinse under cold water, then drain and dry on paper towels.

Heat half the oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet. When very hot, add the diced bacon and stir until it begins to brown, then remove and let drain on paper towels.

Without crowding the pieces, add the beef cubes to the hot oil. Turn the pieces when nicely browned. When all sides are evenly browned, remove the beef with a slotted spoon, and reserve. Add more oil and the sliced onions, and cook slowly, stirring, until tender but not browned.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Return the meat and bacon to the skillet, and add garlic, orange peel, onion with cloves and wine. Heat to boil, then add broth to cover, stir in tomato paste, place bouquet garni in the middle, and season with more pepper than salt, as the olives will provide salt.

When the mixture begins to simmer, cover with parchment paper and the lid. Bake until the meat is tender, at least 1 1/2 hours. Turn the beef cubes halfway through cooking. A few minutes before serving, remove the onion with cloves; add olives, taste and correct the seasoning. Serve in a warmed shallow serving dish, accompanied by boiled potatoes or rice, sprinkled with minced basil or parsley.

 

Enjoy the season with your Savvy Selections!

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Kicking 2017 off with Kacaba Vineyards

Posted by Velma

Thursday, January 26th, 2017
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To kickstart this year, we’re so pleased to offer you three outstanding wines this month from Kacaba Vineyards & Winery. The Pinot Gris was a best seller at our Outstanding in their Fields Taste & Buy event last month, and the two Syrahs are award-winning wines that showcase just how exceptional Kacaba is at producing cold-climate reds.

Kacaba does Syrah particularly well! It was the first winery in Ontario and the second in Canada to plant syrah grapes, some 20 years ago, and its experience shines through in every bottle!  It is also the only Ontario winery to have competed and won a medal in the table wine category at the Syrah de Mode Competition in Northern Rhone, the birthplace of syrah and where the only grape grown is syrah.

The Syrah wines we are featuring this month are special in many ways – they are both from the same vintage produced from grapes grown on two different blocks of land on the Kacaba property, each with very different terroir. The Proprieters Block syrah is from the oldest vineyard on the property, and the Silver Bridge from the newest. Why not taste them side by side to challenge yourself to see if you can notice any differences…let us know which one is your favourite!

Both wines were produced following techniques that support a philosophy of environmental sustainability, which is explained in more detail in this month’s e-zine. The e-zine features Vadim Chelekhov (in photo) – the 28-year-old assistant winemaker at Kacaba – who shares his passion for Kacaba, its philosophy, and its outstanding wines. Enjoy!

Our Savvy Sommeliers selected for you:

2015 Jennifer’s Pinot Gris – a beautiful, rich, and flavouful pinot gris named after one of the three daughters of owner Michael Kacaba.

2013 Proprietors Block Syrah – a delightful, well-balanced red wine that recently won a silver medal at the 2016 WineAlign National Awards of Canada.

2013 Silver Bridge Syrah – a scrumptious red wine with an aging potential up to 7 years, that was also a silver-medal award winner at the 2016 WineAlign National Awards of Canada.

You definitely won’t find these wines at the LCBO

Every month, our Savvy Sommeliers seek out wines with you in mind. We take into consideration wines to enjoy with the seasonal cuisine, interesting wine experiences (like 2 syrahs from same vintage yet different terroirs) and interesting grape varieties…as starting examples.

As you enjoy the wines in your Savvy Selections, at any time you find a new favorite wine and would like to stock up, call our Savvy Team any time at 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) for additional bottles. Also call us even if you have a yearning for wines from other wineries we have featured in previous Savvy Selections.

Cheers & wishing you the very best for a fantastic 2017!
Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…

Kacaba Vineyards & Estate Winery
presented by Sommelier Velma LeBlanc

Passion. It’s the word that comes immediately to mind when talking with Vadim Chelekhov, the 28-year-old assistant winemaker at Kacaba (pronounced “ka-sa’-ba) Vineyards and Winery. Passion for his chosen profession, passion for the winery’s commitment to be environmentally sustainable and, most of all, passion for the wonderful award-winning wines ultimately produced.  “We are a small-batch winery that produces hand-crafted premium wines,” says Vadim, who has worked at Kacaba since 2011 and as the assistant winemaker since 2014. “Only two people are involved in production – me and the wine maker – which makes us go the extra mile. We give all of our attention to every single tank, every single barrel, every single wine we produce.”

His early years

Vadim’s passion and appreciation for wine was sparked at an early age. He was born in Russia, in the republic of Kazakhstan, which was the last of the Soviet republics to declare independence. With independence, came the freedom to travel, and he accompanied his family on many trips to some of the oldest wine-making regions in the world: Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

“Although I was very young, it was on those trips that I fell in love with the everyday life and culture of vineyards and winemakers.”

One memory in particular stands out. “I was stunned by the centuries-old cellars of the Loire Valley. The French don’t often do cellar tours, but as a little kid, they were much softer on me, so they let me into some of the oldest cellars in the world. They let me see the barrels, the olds casks, the old fermenters.”

Becoming part of the Kacaba team

Vadim arrived in Canada in 2002, completed high school in Hamilton, Ontario, and attended the University of Western Ontario, faculty of Health Sciences. Rather than pursue a doctorate, the path taken by many family members, his love of wine and winemaking beckoned. He joined the vineyard crew at Kacaba in 2011 and, in 2012, enrolled in the two-year Viticulture and Oenology program at Niagara College, while continuing to work at Kacaba as a cellar hand. In 2014, he was offered the assistant winemaker position and, since then, has worked alongside industry-respected winemaker, John Tummon (in photo on right).
“John has over 40 years of experience in winemaking and competing. He has a refined palate, is an advocate in the wine industry and also a wine judge. I was drawn to him because I want to learn from the best and learn about all aspects of the industry, not just one. For me, he is an inspiration.”

An environmentally sustainable winery

Vadim has also been inspired by the vineyard’s owner and namesake, Michael Kacaba, and his vision and philosophy. “Since Michael Kacaba first started growing grapes, in the mid-1990s, he has had a philosophy of being an environmentally sustainable and minimalistic vineyard and winery, and he has never deviated from that vision.”

Sustainability involves everything from carefully managing the vineyard’s water usage to energy conservation to pesticide use. “We use water sparingly; we minimize the use of heaters; and we use things that are found naturally in the vineyard to prevent disease. Sulphur or chalk, for example, is dissolved in water and sprayed on the plants, versus using harsh pesticides.”

The vineyard crew also tries to minimize the use of tractors and other heavy machinery, which means the majority of work in the vineyard – such as tying, pruning, leaf removal, shoot positioning and cluster removal – is done by hand. (Note: By removing leaves from the vines, more nutrients can travel to the prized grapes rather than the foliage. Similarly, by removing clusters of grapes, flavour is concentrated in those remaining on the vine. Although less wine is ultimately produced, this practice yields higher quality and more robust and flavourful wines.)

About the vineyard

Kacaba is located on a slightly elevated 32-acre property on the Niagara Escarpment; 26 of those acres are dedicated to growing grapes. The unique microclimate of the Escarpment means that winters are relatively mild and arrive later than in other parts of Ontario; as a result, the red grapes can remain on the vines much longer, making it possible to produce much bolder red wines than are typically associated with colder climates. In 2016, the cabernet sauvignon grapes were harvested on November 21st; in 2014, on December 3rd.

“In this amazing little microclimate, the treeline on the Escarpment captures the wind and brings it down to ground level, which is what warms up the environment around the vines.”

Syrah – the signature, award-winning grape of Kacaba

Although Kacaba grows a variety of grapes – including cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, and viognier – its signature varietal is syrah. Kacaba, in fact, was the first vineyard in Ontario to plant syrah, some twenty years ago, and has since become known for producing high-quality Northern Rhone-style wines. Kacaba is the only Ontario winery that has competed and won (in 2016) a medal (Silver) for a table wine in the Syrah de Mode competition in Northern Rhone (France). (Note: Northern Rhone is believed to be the birthplace of syrah and where the only red grape allowed to be grown is syrah.)

The same syrah clone is planted in three different Kacaba vineyards, each with a distinct terroir and each producing very different wines. In this month’s Savvy Selections, subscribers have the chance to taste and compare syrah grapes grown in two of the vineyards: the Silver Bridge vineyard (Kacaba’s oldest vineyard, planted in 1997); and the youngest vineyard – the Proprietor’s Block – planted in 2007, and which Vadim cites as being very promising.

The whites are great too 

Kacaba also produces incredible, approachable white wines (including the pinot gris in this month’s Savvy Selections). The only white grape actually grown on its property, however, is viognier, which is used to add softness to its syrahs, making them more consistent with those from Northern Rhone.

The growing of its other white grape varietals – including pinot gris, chardonnay, and riesling – are contracted to local craft wine growers. These partners grow the grapes in accordance with Kacaba’s stringent specifications, adhering to the philosopy of sustainability (e.g., no pesticides or herbicides). Kacaba then turns these grapes into beautiful white wine on the Kacaba site.

In years when it is cold enough, Kacaba also produces icewine.  Although Ontario regulation allows grapes for icewine to be picked when temperatures hit -8 degrees Celsius, Kacaba prefers to wait until the mercury plummets to -14 degrees Celsius. “We prolong picking to much lower temperatures, which gives us lower volumes, but concentrates the flavour,” says Vadim. “The flavours of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are amplified at lower temperatures.”

If you are planning to go to this month’s Niagara Icewine Festival be sure to visit the Kacaba team and be treated to a sampling of the 2013 Cabernet Franc icewine which will be paired with Cajun-lime buttered jumbo prawns. That is an interesting pairing!  This two weekend festival is also a great opportunity to taste many of Kacaba’s other great wines and to meet Vadim. The Festival runs over three weekends (January 13-15, 20-22, and 27-29).  Be sure to tell Vadim, John and others at the winery that you are a Savvy Selections subscriber….they will probably roll out the red carpet for you!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

2015 Jennifer’s Pinot Gris

$17.95

Savvy Sommelier Tastings Notes: This approachable Pinot Gris is an easy sipping wine, with fruit forward grapefruit, floral, lychee and tropical characteristics. The finish highlights notes of apple and citrus.

Suggested Food Pairings: This white wine would pair extremely well with light seafood and shellfish dishes; creamy pastas; and cheese-based appetizers. A baked brie topped with a fig spread would be particularly lovely, as would be a hot artichoke or crab dip, or a cheese fondue (see recipe below).

Cellaring:  To be enjoyed now, with the opportunity to cellar for up to two years.

 

2013 Proprietors Block Syrah

$27.95 (special Savvy price.  Regular $29.95)

Savvy Sommelier Tastings Notes: This award-winning Syrah is rich, soft, and velvety on the palate, exuding notes of black pepper, licorice, and raspberries. It is a wonderful example of a cool-climate Syrah, similar in structure and taste to its Northern Rhone cousins.

Suggested Food Pairings: This lovely Syrah works well with many dishes, including lamb, Mediterranean dishes, and even Indian curries. Vadim likes to use it to marinate lamp chops – together with tomatoes, black pepper, onions, a bay leaf, and a sprinkle of cumin – for a day or two before cooking the chops over a medium hot BBQ.

Cellaring: Drinking well now. Can cellar up to 5 years.

 

2013 Silver Bridge Syrah

$27.95 (special Savvy price.  Regular $29.95)

See the silver bridge in the photo below??

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This medium-bodied Syrah boasts big flavours of black pepper, blueberries and blackberries. Smooth and rich-tasting on the palate, it is an easy sipping wine with lovely tannins on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairings: This Syrah is able to stand up to big proteins, including steak, ribs, and even such game meat as duck, elk, and deer.

Cellaring: Enjoy this now or save it for a special future occasion. It’s aging capacity is 6-7 years.

 

 ~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Kacaba Pinot Gris…

Classic Cheese Fondue

By Gourmet Magazine, February 2005
Photo credit: Vanessa Simmons, Savvy Company
Serves 6

Items to use for dipping

Cubes of French bread
Slices or cubes of apple and pear
Roasted potatoes
Julienned raw red bell pepper
Blanched broccoli florets

Ingredients

1 garlic clove, halved crosswise
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons kirsch (optional)
1/2 pound Emmental cheese, coarsely grated (2 cups)
1/2 pound Gruyère, coarsely grated (2 cups)

Method

Rub inside of a 4-quart heavy pot with cut sides of garlic, then discard garlic. Add wine to pot and bring just to a simmer over moderate heat.

Stir together cornstarch and kirsch (if using; otherwise, use water or wine) in a cup.

Gradually add cheese to pot and cook, stirring constantly in a zigzag pattern (not a circular motion) to prevent cheese from balling up, until cheese is just melted and creamy (do not let boil). Stir cornstarch mixture again and stir into fondue. Bring fondue to a simmer and cook, stirring, until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to fondue pot set over a flame.

 

With Kacaba Silver Bridge Syrah…

Boeuf Bourguinon

By the Canadian Living Test Kitchen, Canadian Living Magazine, December 2004
Serves 8

Ingredients

1 pkg (14 g) dried porcini mushroom
3 lbs boneless beef cross rib pot roasts
4 oz thickly sliced bacon chopped
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion chopped
1 carrots chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 bottle (750 ml) red wine (such as Pinot Noir or Merlot)
1 1/2 cup beef broth
3 fresh parsley
2 fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 pkg (10 oz/284 g) pearl onions
1 Tablespoon butter
3 cups button mushrooms
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Method

Click here to see step-by-step instructions with photographs. 

Soak dried mushrooms in 1/2 cup (125 mL) hot water for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, trim fat from beef; cut meat into 1-1/2-inch (4 cm) cubes and set aside.

In Dutch oven, sauté bacon over medium-high heat until crisp; transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Drain fat from pan.  Add 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of the oil to pan; brown beef, in 3 batches and adding remaining oil as necessary. Transfer to bowl. Drain fat from pan.

Add chopped onion, carrot, garlic, salt and pepper to pan; cook over medium heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with flour; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Reserving soaking liquid, remove mushrooms and chop; add to pan along with soaking liquid, wine and broth. Bring to boil, scraping up any brown bits. Tie parsley, thyme and bay leaves together with string. Add to pan along with bacon, beef and any juices. Cover and braise in 325°F (160°C) oven until meat is fork-tender, 2-1/2 to 3 hours.

Meanwhile, in pot of boiling water, boil pearl onions for 3 minutes; drain and chill in cold water. Peel and trim, leaving root ends intact. In skillet, melt butter over medium heat; brown pearl onions, about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to bowl.

Add mushrooms to skillet; fry until browned, about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove beef to separate bowl. Add pearl onions, mushrooms and brandy to liquid in Dutch oven; bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until thickened and onions are tender, about 25 minutes. Discard herbs. Return beef to pan and heat through. Sprinkle with parsley.

 

With the Kacaba Proprietors Block Syrah…

Grilled Leg of Lamb with Rosemary, Garlic & Mustard

By Sisi & Wil Carroll, Bon Appétit, April 2010
Serves 10-12

Ingredient tip: Start with a boneless 7-pound leg of lamb. When all fat and sinew are trimmed, it will weigh about 6 pounds.

Ingredients

1 well-trimmed 6-pound boneless leg of lamb, butterflied to even 2-inch thickness
8 garlic cloves, peeled, divided
1/2 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
Fresh rosemary sprigs and fresh Italian parsley sprigs

Method

Open lamb like book on work surface. Using tip of small knife, make 1/2-inch-deep slits all over lamb. Thinly slice 4 garlic cloves. Insert garlic slices into slits in lamb. Combine remaining 4 garlic cloves, mustard, olive oil, white wine, rosemary, and lemon juice in processor. Blend until coarse puree forms. Spread underside of lamb with half of puree. Place lamb, seasoned side down, in 15 x 10 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread remaining puree over top of lamb. Cover lamb with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

Let lamb stand at room temperature 2 hours. Coat grill rack with nonstick spray and prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Sprinkle lamb generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill lamb to desired doneness, about 17 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer lamb to cutting board; let rest 10 to 20 minutes.

Thinly slice lamb against grain. Overlap slices on platter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh herb sprigs.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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Premium wines from Pondview Winery

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017
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When I last wrote about Pondview Estate Winery, it was 2011 and Lou Puglisi and his family had just opened a tasting room to showcase their first vintage as winemakers. The family had been growing and selling grapes for 30 years; in fact, in 2008 Lou had been crowned Grape King, a highly acclaimed industry award provided by Ministry of Agriculture to recognize the finest grape growers in Ontario. As a prize, Lou was offered an all expense paid trip to the Okanagan British Columbia, where he visited a number of small, family-owned wineries.  This trip sealed the deal – it convinced him that the time had come to take the next step, and to begin making wine.

Lou invited Fred DiProfio, whom he knew from his work at Pillitteri Winery, to be consulting winemaker. The first vintage was small – only 2800 cases.  Lou (wearing black in photo below), Fred and his brother-in-law, Joseph Barbera (wearing red shirt in photo), did just about everything. “It was the three of us in the cellar, doing punch downs, bottling, labeling – we were doing it all. At this time, there were only three wines, a rosé, a Gewürztraminer and a Gewürztraminer Riesling blend. Most sold out in just a few weeks,” Joseph reminisces.  He was always concerned that they didn’t have a red wine. “Lou, Fred and I talked about this and agreed we had to find a way to make one. Lou had put aside one barrel each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc for the family’s consumption; Fred’s contacts in the industry allowed him to secure a barrel of Merlot. Those guys worked their magic, and we were able to present a Cabernet/Merlot blend ….but those 75 cases sold out as quickly as the others! Mama Mia, what a time!”

Since then, Lou’s expertise as a horticulturalist, the family’s dedication to quality and the unique contribution of gifted winemaker Fred DiProfio, have built Pondview’s reputation, driving demand among consumers and securing a long list of awards of recognition. Pondview expects to produce 12,000 cases of their wine this year, and has entered into a partnership with Marcel Morgenstern, their Director of Sales, to produce the virtual brand, Burnt Ship Bay. Facing limitations on their shelf space in Ontario, Lou and Marcel are turning to exports, introducing their wines to select European and US markets. The initial response in Europe has been very positive, considering, as Lou says, “there is no lack of wines to choose from!”

Given the high demand for their wines, we’re especially delighted to feature three of Pondview’s small lot and premium portfolio Bella Terra wines.

Bella Terra Pinot Gris 2013 – a creamy, complex and flavourful white wine
– Bella Terra Cabernet Franc 2012 – a fragrant, succulent and well-structured red wine ready to enjoy or be cellared
– Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – the supple, full bodied, intensely flavoured Cab Sauv like no other from Niagara

You can order extra bottles through us or stop in for a warm welcome at Pondview on your next visit to the Niagara area! You’re bound to find Joseph, Lou, or his wife Adriana behind the tasting bar.

Cheers & Enjoy!
Debbie & Savvy Team
debbie@savvycompany.ca

 

Pondview Estate Winery
Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

I’ve visited Pondview several times since we first featured them in 2011.  And Lou, Marcel & Joseph are often at our Savvy Taste & Buy Events so we have quick chats while sampling their latest wine. When the opportunity for me to be the lead for this issue of the Savvy eZine came up, I jumped at the chance as it gave me a way to spend time with Lou and Joseph, and get into more depth about what has been happening at their winery over the past 5 years.

Lou (in photo) is as busy now as he was then, but in a different way. “For our first vintage, 2009, the wine was selling out, and we were on top of the world! We figured, we’ll go to 5,000 cases and sell the remaining grapes to our partners, as we’d done before. But then, the winery took on a life of its own.” While I am interviewing him, he is dealing with the harvest and getting ready for another trip to China, where he will be educating his import partners and promoting Pondview icewine in Shanghai and Beijing.

Hard to believe that in five short years, Lou is now discussing the burgeoning wine market in China and talking about how young professionals and members of the expanding middle class have a particular interest in red wine, while his icewines are in increasing demand with premium wine purchasers. In this context, he talks about the steps that Pondview has taken to guarantee the authenticity of their icewine. Developed in Bordeaux, ‘Proof Tags’ now appear on the neck of every bottle of ice wine. The tag can be scanned using a smartphone app, allowing the consumer to track the bottle from the point of purchase back to the originating winery, right to the vineyard. “It’s an additional cost to do this, but we want our customers, whether in China or right here in Canada, to be secure in the knowledge that the wine in the bottle was truly produced by us.”

He also talks about his satisfaction with Pondview’s entry into a few select European market – Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria and England. And he’s building the business in these foreign markets with the same patient approach used to begin producing wine in Niagara – one customer at a time, one pallet of wine at a time, slowly building awareness and credibility. And this can be done now because of the family’s ongoing investment in Pondview. “You can’t sell what you don’t have”.

Over the last five years, a 10-acre plot adjacent to the existing winery estate has been purchased. It was planted 2 years ago with Viognier, Malbec and more Pinot Gris vines. More recently, 12 acres at the juncture of the Four Mile Creek and St. David’s appellations have been purchased specifically for icewine with Vidal and Cabernet Franc vines.

The core team remains in place – Lou, Fred (winemaker), Joseph and Adriana, along with a variety of well-qualified professionals have been brought in to support the growth in the business, including Marcel Morgenstern as head of sales, whom Lou has known since he was selling grapes to Pillitteri Estates Winery years ago.

Despite the work of identifying and entering new markets, and the amount of travel associated with it, Lou continues to be laser focused on the vineyards. He talks about the 2016 vintage as one of the most challenging in recent memory. “We had a warm winter, and the snow melted early, so we went into the growing season in a drought. Not ideal.  Then we waited for rain that didn’t come.”

The Pondview name reflects the estate – there is a small pond onsite, but it isn’t large enough for ongoing irrigation of the vineyard. Fortunately, the family had purchased water rights to a creek that runs along the edge of the property, and water is regularly released into it – so irrigation during this past summer’s drought kept the vines alive and growing. But the desiccation of the soil was so profound, the vines struggled with nutrient uptake. Lou had to initiate new practices, such as using non-toxic foliar sprays of nutrients to help maintain vine health.

Irrigation and other interventions, like the foliar spraying, ensured the vines didn’t get overly stressed and were able to produce fruit with good concentration of sugars and flavours. “Over the last five years, we’re seeing more weather extremes – really cold winters, then two short crop years back to back. I don’t remember that happening before” Lou explains. “It looks like 2016 will go down as the hottest Niagara summer in recent memory. With changes in climate, farming practices will have to change as well, and early attention to vine health and continued monitoring will be required through the entire growing season.”

As our conversation draws to a close, Lou talks about his close partnership with Fred diProfio, and reveals much of his own philosophy. “I’ve known Fred for a long time. We respect each other and work very closely together, bouncing ideas around. We’re always willing to try something new.” And he says, with a smile in his voice, “Every day is a school day!”

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Bella Terra Pinot Gris 2013 VQA

The unique white wine is from a small lot (only 300 cases), produced from estate-grown fruit, barrel fermented and aged nine months in seasoned French and Hungarian oak. None of this wine was produced in 2014 or 2015 due to the effect of the very difficult winters of 2014 and 2015 on the vines. So you’re getting a ‘limited edition’ here!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: There’s real complexity here – the aromas and flavours are a basket of lush Ontario orchard and pit fruits entwined with notes of fruit custard, sweet citrus and spiced caramel. Elegant and well balanced, the wine has a vibrant yet creamy texture and lingering spicy notes through the smooth lasting finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  This has the weight and depth to pair with holiday turkey, with smoked salmon canapes, or with a creamy artichoke risotto.

Cellaring: Enjoy now.

 

Bella Terra Cabernet Franc 2012 VQA

The hot 2012 vintage, considered a good one for Bordeaux varieties, provided good sugar levels and flavour intensity, while vineyard management ensured sufficient acidity was maintained. Unfiltered, aged eighteen months in French oak, this wine shows Lou’s dedication to the fruit and the vineyard, cropped at very low yields to ensure concentrated flavours.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Rich, ripe and fragrant on the nose, this warm, full bodied wine is bursting with aromas of spiced rose, succulent black fruit, licorice and earth. It’s refined, clean structure is a great counterpoint to the concentrated fruit flavours and it finishes with a lingering note of chocolate-coated coffee bean.

Suggested Food Pairing: Winter warming meals of prime rib or tortière would be a great match.

Cellaring: Drink now or cellar a further 3-5 years.

 

 


Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 VQA

The 2013 vintage was a challenging one, with a late spring, heavy summer rain combined with intense heat. Lou’s vigilance in the vineyard and strategy to use the long, warm fall weather to allow further ripening and concentration in the fruit ensured a wine of quality and great flavour. With a November harvest, the fruit for this opulent wine really benefited from that extended hang time, while in the cellar it was aged eighteen months in French oak and left unfiltered.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: There’s great intensity to the aromas of cassis, mingling with underlying notes of compost and tobacco, delicate dried herbs and spice. The purity of the cassis flavours combines with blueberry garnished with a dash of dark chocolate and hints of vanilla. This full bodied wine offers a round rich supple texture, a spicy, warm palate and a sumptuous long-lasting finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Serve with braised short ribs or beef tenderloin.

Cellaring:  This wine may be enjoyed now or aged a further 2-4 years.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Pondview Bella Terra Pinot Gris…

Risotto with Artichoke

Photo Credit: Food & Style Magazine
Recipe Credit: Chef Hector Diaz (then at Hilton Lac-Leamy)

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp shallots, chopped
1 ½ Tbsp each, small-diced carrots & celery
1 tsp minced garlic
1 c Arborio rice
½ c white wine
3 c hot chicken stock
¼ c heavy 35-per-cent cream
2 Tbsp diced, cooked artichoke heart (bottled or canned is fine)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 Tbsp Padano or parmesan cheese, grated

Method

In a medium saucepan, heat oil on medium-high heat and sauté shallots & vegetables until shallots are translucent but not browned. Stir in garlic, then rice to coat with oil.

Reduce heat to medium and add wine, half the chicken stock. Stir constantly until liquid is absorbed, then add remaining stock and continue to cook, stirring, until liquid is absorbed a second time. Add cream, artichokes, and cook 5 minutes longer. Rice should be al dente; if it’s too hard, add just a little hot liquid & cook until it is.

Remove from heat, whip in butter & grated cheese; season to taste & serve.

 

With Pondview Bella Terra Cabernet Franc

Grilled Vegetables with Buffalo Mozzarella

Photo credit: Broil King BBQ
Recipe Credit: Modified from on a dish served at the River’s End Restaurant & Inn located in Jenner, California
Serves 6

Ingredients

4 each red and yellow bell peppers, quartered lengthwise & seeded
2 large zucchini, cut into 12 thin diagonal slices
6 medium Portobello mushrooms, peeled, gills carefully scooped out
3 large fresh Buffalo mozzarella
6x 4” rosemary sprigs, leaves removed from lower half

Marinade

1/3 c balsamic vinegar
1/3 c olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Method

Whisk together marinade ingredients, then marinate peppers for about 15 minutes. Add mushrooms, tossing with peppers & continue marinating for a further 15 minutes.

Remove vegetables from marinade (reserve marinade), cook in batches on heated grill, 8-10 minutes for peppers (or until lightly charred), 7-8 minutes for mushrooms. Brush with marinade during cooking.

Remove veggies from grill. Place mushrooms upside down on flat surface. Layer with a piece of red pepper, a slice of cheese, zucchini, yellow pepper, a slice of cheese and another slice of zucchini. Poke the rosemary sprig through the middle of each stack with leaves at the top.

Place veggie stacks on a heat-proof dish and return to grill (turned off) so that cheese can soften, then serve with fresh French bread.

 

 

With Pondview Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon…

Mustard-glazed Standing Rib Roast with Pan Gravy

Recipe Credit: Lucy Waverman & James Chatto, A Matter of Taste Cookbook
This recipe is also online at Globe & Mail Newspaper
Serves 8

Ingredients

1/3 c Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 Tbsp coarsely ground pepper
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or thyme, or 1 tsp dried
1 standing rib roast (~7 lbs)
Salt to taste

Method

Combine mustard, oil, soy sauce, garlic, parsley, pepper & rosemary. Brush over roast, including bones. Let sit for 2 hours, or refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 450F. Turn on oven broiler. Place roast fat side up on a rack in a roasting pan & broil for about 4 minutes or until fat is crispy. Turn off broiler, reheat oven to 450F & roast for 30 minutes.

Reduce heat to 350F & roast for about 1 ½ hours longer for rare.

Remove roast to a carving board & let rest 15 minutes to allow juices to retract while you make gravy. Remove roast from bones & carve into thin slices. Serve with gravy, roast potatoes & green beans.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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No need to go all the way to Italy when Niagara has Vieni Estates

Posted by David

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Vieni Estates Winery
–  November 2016 –

Where in the world would you find wine that offers ripe fruit flavours, food-friendly reds, and traditional winemaking techniques? If you answered “Italy”, you’d certainly be correct.  But if you answered “Vieni Estates in Niagara”, you’d prove that you really know your stuff!

This month in Savvy Selections, we feature the Italian-style wines of Vieni Estates.  A newcomer to the Beamsville Bench, Vieni has imported the techniques and grape varieties from their founder’s homeland of southern Italy.  You can read all about their take on the Italian winemaking tradition in our Vieni profile, below.

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find 3 of our favourite Vieni wines. We chose these as the best examples of Vieni’s blend of Ontario fruit with Italian-style!

2013 Momeni Extra-dry a Prosecco-style sparkler, loaded with fine bubbles and citrusy fun-
2012 Cabernet Franc Private Reserve – rich and ripe, this Cab Franc explodes with flavour
2011 Aglianico Al Passo – made with air-dried fruit from Canada’s only Aglianico planting, this is a stellar example of an Italian wine made right here in Ontario

Traditional techniques and Niagara fruit

Vieni Estates may be new, but they are producing some unique and very good wines.  After all, they’ve been growing grapes for other wineries for decades – and the grapes make the wine!  These wines are ready to drink, though most of them can handle cellaring for a few years too.  Our Savvy Sommeliers know you’ll love them as much as we do!

Call on us anytime you would like additional bottles of your favorite Vieni Estates wines – or other wines we have featured in previous Savvy Selections.  Your Canadian Wine Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926), or you can just drop me a line at debbie@savvycompany.ca.

Cheers & Enjoy!
Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing
Vieni Estates
Presented by Sommelier David Loan

Pasquale Raviele wanted one thing; to bring the flavours from his family’s roots in Naples to his new winery in Niagara. That required not only reproducing the techniques of Southern Italy, but introducing some of their grape varieties, too. “We combine Old World traditions with a New World locale,” said winery manager, Steven Dimola.

Breaking Ground

Pasquale already owned 120 acres of vineyards in the heart of the Beamsville Bench (in photo on right)  He had been selling high quality grapes to a number of wineries in the region.  But in 2013, he decided it was time to undertake his own project; a winery and distillery making Italian-style wines and grappas (called “graspas” at Vieni to avoid trademark issues). This would be a first for Niagara – while there are a number of Italian-influenced wineries, no one had been making grappa, the fiery spirit made from grape skins leftover from the winemaking process.

Another first: Pasquale imported Aglianico vines, the only plantings of this most ancient of grapes in Canada.

Sun Worshiper

It is widely believed that Aglianico was the first wine grape grown in Italy, brought there by the ancient Greeks.  The grape is black, producing a dark red juice with big fruit flavours and high tannins and acidity.  A staple of the Naples region Pasquale’s family comes from, it enjoys that area’s long growing season and Mediterranean climate. Bringing a heat-loving vine to Niagara was a challenge, but Pasquale and winemaker Mauro Salvador – another Italian import(!) – overcame the obstacles with careful hillside plantings that maximized the amount of sun the grapes would get each day.

They also brought with them an Italian winemaking tradition that ensured the grapes would produce the wine they wanted.

Cut and Dried

Appassimento is an Italian winemaking technique in which whole clusters of grapes are cut off the vine and then placed carefully onto custom-made racks.  The racks are designed to allow good airflow across the grapes so that the fruit begins to dry and shrivel. Drying the grapes concentrates the sugars and the fruit flavours.  Appassimento style wines – Amarone is the best known example – are richly flavoured with notes of figs, raisin, and leather.
Other Ontario wineries have applied the Appassimento technique, with most of them drying the fruit in repurposed tobacco kilns.  At Vieni, the grapes are dried in the traditional method, in an open air shed with a few fans helping blow air across the grapes. The grapes are left on the racks from six weeks to four months, depending on the winemaker’s preference.

Vieni’s Appassimento-style Aglianico is full-bodied, with huge fruit flavours and terrific balance.  It really is a taste of Italy, made in Ontario.

We’re Convinced!

In addition to the Aglianico and grappa, Vieni produces Prosecco-type sparkling wines, wines that feature such well known varietals as Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Chardonnay, and a range of ice wines.

The biggest challenge, according to winery manager Steve, is convincing Canadians how amazing Ontario wines are.  “Many Canadians still don’t believe that we’re producing world-class products in Niagara,” he said.  We know that when you try our Savvy Selections picks from Vieni, you’ll agree: these are absolutely world-class wines!

 

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

For your Savvy Selection this month, we’ve chosen three wines that beautifully showcase Vieni’s stunning fusion of Italian technique and Niagara fruit.  We know that you’ll love the remarkable flavours of these unique wines, along with some delicious recipes that will perfectly match food and drink. 

Momenti Extra-Dry VQA Ontario 2013, $14

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This lovely sparkling wine is made in the tradition of Italy’s famous Prosecco, but from Ontario Vidal and Pinot Grigio grapes.  Like Prosecco, it is light (11% alcohol), frothy, and tangy.  Flavours of green apple, ripe melon, grapefruit, and apricot are detectable at first, but give it a minute in the glass and you’ll find pretty floral notes come through, especially honeysuckle. Debbie, who loves sparklers, calls this “an unwinding wine” – perfect for relieving the day’s stresses!

Suggested Food Pairing: This bubbly treat will pair nicely with an Italian flatbread topped with Fontina and Prosciutto.  Recipe below.

Cellaring:  Drink at 8ºC within a year.

 

Cabernet Franc Private Reserve VQA Vinemount Ridge 2012, $23

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Winner of a number of international wine awards, this rich and ripe Cab Franc was aged in oak for eighteen months!  The medium tannins and acidity are perfectly balanced with the notes of black cherries, fragrant spices, mint, and raspberries.  2012 was an excellent vintage for Ontario Cabernet Franc, allowing it to come to full ripeness without any of the green vegetable aromas that sometimes mar the grape. If you want an excellent example of Ontario Cab Franc, here it is!

Suggested Food Pairing: The richness of this wine and the cool autumn weather makes us think of Chicken Chasseur, a hearty stew of chicken braised with mushrooms and tomatoes.  Perfect November fare!  Recipe follows

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, this could be cellared for up to 3 years.  Serve between 15-16ºC.

 

Aglianico Al Passo VQA Vinemount Ridge 2011, $30

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  The beautiful silver-on-black image on the bottle is of a Greek ship.  It’s a fitting homage to the ancient roots of this wine, which came to Italy from Greece.  The name, which comes from a corrupted word meaning “Greek”, is pronounced “al-YAN-i-ko”.

This wine is made using the Appassimento technique, in which ripe clusters of grapes are carefully placed on custom racks to dry.  The results are rich, concentrated flavours of dark berries, figs, mint, and boysenberry. This is a juicy wine, with lots of stewed and dried fruit notes.  David calls it a “November pleaser”, ready to warm you up on a chilly day.

Suggested Food Pairing: One of our favourite cookbooks is David Rocco’s “Dolce Vita”.  His fun Drunken Spaghetti recipe will go perfectly with this Southern Italian-style wine.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, this can cellar 3-5 years.  Serve at 14-16ºC.

 

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Vieni Momenti Extra-Dry…

Italian Flatbread (Piadina) with Fontina and Prosciutto

Recipe & Photo credit: CookingChannelTV.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus extra for seasoning
1 stick butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons lemon zest (from about 2 small lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped fresh basil

Method

Combine the flour, baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt in the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until incorporated, about 2 minutes.  With the machine running, slowly add 10 to 12 tablespoons water until the mixture forms a dough around the hook.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth.  Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces.  Form into disk shapes and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each piece of dough into an 8-to-10-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick.  Brush each circle with the extra-virgin olive oil and grill for 4 minutes each side.  Remove the piadina from the grill to cool slightly.

Combine the ricotta cheese and lemon zest in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.  Spread each piadina with 1/2 cup of the ricotta mixture.  Sprinkle the fontina cheese evenly over the ricotta cheese.  Arrange 2 prosciutto slices on top of the cheeses.  Cut each piadina into 8 wedges and transfer to a serving platter.  Garnish with the chopped basil. 

 

With Vieni Cabernet Franc…

Chicken Chasseur

Recipe and Photo credit: BBCGoodFood.com
Serves 4

Ingredients

4 chicken legs
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, thickly sliced
1 cup whole button or chestnut mushrooms
1 rounded tbsp tomato purée
1 ¼ cup white wine
1 ½ cup chicken or beef  stock
3-4 tomatoes , quartered and deseeded
sprinkling tarragon leaves and chopped parsley

Method

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a lidded sauté pan or shallow casserole. Pan-fry the chicken over a medium-high heat, turning, until golden on both sides. Remove from the pan and keep to one side.  You will need about 2 tbsp fat left in the pan for cooking the onions, so if the legs have released a lot of fat, drain off the excess.

Add the onions and mushrooms to the pan, stirring occasionally until they have a little colour and are beginning to soften, 6-8 minutes. Stir in the tomato purée and white wine, then pour in the consommé or stock.

Return the chicken to the pan and bring to a simmer. Place a lid on the pan and continue to cook, allowing the sauce to just simmer for about 1 hr, or until the meat is completely tender.

To finish, skim the sauce of any further excess fat, then add the tomatoes, if using. Simmer, without the lid, for a further 2-3 minutes to soften them, then scatter over the herbs.

 

 

With Vieni Aglianico…

Drunken Spaghetti

Recipe & Photo credits: David Rocco, FoodNetwork.ca
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb spaghetti
3 to 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
3 cup red wine
½ cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
Small bunch of Italian parsley, finely chopped
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 dried chile peppers, crushed (optional)
Salt to season

Method

Bring salted water to boil in a large pot. Add spaghetti and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, pasta should still be a little firm in the middle (just before pasta is al dente).

In a skillet or large sauté pan, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, anchovy fillets and chile peppers. Cook until garlic is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add spaghetti to the pan. Toss to combine with olive oil. Add the red wine. Cook until wine has reduced slightly and spaghetti has finished cooking.

Sprinkle parsley and grated pecorino cheese. Toss to combine and remove from heat.

 

Enjoy with your Savvy Selections!

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Have you been to the winery in the Ottawa Valley?

Posted by Susan

Thursday, October 20th, 2016
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
KIN Vineyards
–  October 2016 –

Google Chris van Barr, and the first thing you’ll learn is that he is a successful lawyer specializing in intellectual property law, who also teaches in the subject at the University of Ottawa. But, dig a little deeper, and you’ll discover that he has roots on a farm in southern Ontario and has made his home in rural Ottawa. Chris is a man who has a passion for the land as well as interesting, elegant wines. This deep rooted passion led him to partner with Alan Krueger five years ago to establish KIN Vineyards, where together they have transformed part of Chris’ 50 acre property in Kinburn (west of Ottawa) into a vineyard. This property includes Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines, as well as hardy hybrid varieties Marechal Foch, Frontenac, Vidal and Muscat Ottonel. There is a twin site – a 50 acre Carp vineyard – that is being harvested for the first time this month. The Carp vineyard was planted exclusively for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines.

This summer while the vines took hold, the team constructed a modest facility for winemaking and wine storage on the Carp estate. Work is also underway to create a small retail store at the edge of the vineyards. Local architect Richard White, known for his focus on environmentally friendly buildings in harmony with the flow of the land, is working with Chris and his team to design the permanent facility planned for the site. It can be truthfully said that no grass grows under Chris & Alan’s feet!

Winemaker Brian Hamilton, a graduate of Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, comes to KIN with prior experience as a winemaker at Malivoire, Southbrook Vineyard and Tawse Winery. These three wineries have been featured in Savvy Selections over the years and have grown their reputation for their focus on organic and biodynamic winemaking practices. Brian also has notable winemaking experience internationally, having worked a vintage in California, as well as one in New Zealand, where he further developed experience and expertise in the creation of cool-climate wines.

Alan, the KIN Viticulturalist, graduated from the University of Guelph, is an avid gardener and has taught at the Ottawa Waldorf School for many years. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf schools, was also the founder of the holistic system of biodynamic farming, which significantly influenced the principles of current organic farming.

Chris and Alan both originally lived in Southern Ontario, and both worked on farms during high schools holidays, connecting when they coincidentally both moved to rural Ottawa. On cycling trips through the countryside, they talked about different types of environmentally friendly artisanal enterprises that they could partner in, including raising goats to produce cheese. But the idea that really struck a chord was the concept of growing grapes and producing wine organically. Alan said, “Given my experience with the Steiner philosophy at the Waldorf school, my ‘green thumb’, and my availability in the summer, I was the obvious choice to lead the work in the vineyards. Chris is great with all types of farm equipment, so he deals with anything mechanical, as well as being the guiding financial and management hand of the business. Before we made any decisions, we arranged a trip to Niagara to meet with winemakers producing organic wines.” It was during this trip that Chris & Alan met Brian at Southbrook Vineyards. Over subsequent visits and countless questions, four years ago, Brian became a winemaking consultant at KIN. As you can imagine, he has been an invaluable resource & winemaking knowledge…not twoman-and-wine-in-foregroundo mention all of his contacts in the industry.

“When I met with Chris and Alan during their visit at Southbrook, we spoke at length about organic and biodynamic production,” remembers Brian. Our common views on these philosophies really connected us as we established the principals for KIN Vineyards.” This spring, Brian took the plunge & moved to Ottawa to become KIN’s full-time winemaker as the team prepares for their first harvest on the Carp estate.

Given the very limited production available from the KIN vineyards (about 500 cases in 2015), the Savvy Team is delighted to offer our subscribers the opportunity to taste 2 wines produced from fruit from the Kinburn property, as well as 2 wines that Brian is producing from fruit harvested from a carefully selected vineyard in Niagara, while the vines on the Carp estate mature:

– KIN Chardonnay 2015 – released in time to be featured. This is a refined & silky smooth Chardonnay

Frontenac ‘Dark Horse’ 2015 – a medium-bodied red wine with juicy cherry & berry flavours

-‘Understory’ Marechal Foch 2015 (375 mL bottle) – a rare variety that offers a unique fresh & fruit-dominated tastes

– KIN Pinot Noir 2015 – just released and making impressions. A well-integrated cool-climate wine that shines Brian’s talent brightly

You can order extra bottles directly from us or visit the KIN team at the Carp or Westboro Farmer’s markets. As always, don’t hesitate to contact the Savvy Team if you have queries about this exciting new venture sprouting up in the Ottawa Valley.

Cheers & Enjoy!

  

Introducing…
KIN Vineyards
Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

All these years I’ve been writing Savvy Selections features, I would never have guessed the opportunity would arise to introduce you, to a winery in my own backyard – in rural west Ottawa, no less!two-guys-and-barrel

The vineyard on Chris van Barr’s (right in photo) Kinburn property strategically sits between the house and the forested ridge. Alan (left in photo) is convinced that the trees on the Carp Ridge offer protection to the vineyard from the harsh winter winds and the killing spring frosts.

Brian is impressed with the site too with the constant amount of sunshine in the vineyard and in terms of the milestones for grape growing and ripening, the Carp vineyard is performing at the same level as, or only a couple of days behind, many vineyards in Niagara.

Alan came across this special protected property while ferrying his children to after-school activities. It seemed ideal given the slope of the land.

 

Bring in the firefighters!

There’s great laughter as Alan describes the process of planting the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with local firefighters volunteering to dig the holes, while high school students were recruited to hand plant the vines.

I had the opportunity to spend time with Brian and Alan, walking the Carp vineyard to see the results of the KINfolks’ commitment to a challenging viticultural landscape. Planted only three years ago, the Carp vineyard slopes south and west immediately off the Carp Ridge, overlooking the farms of the Ottawa Valley. This block includes three different soil types, the upper slope characterized by loamy sandy soil, the mid slope showing exposed limestone and loam (the rocky soil has the potential to hold and radiate the sun’s heat), while the lower slope is largely clay loam over limestone bedrock.

The Kinburn estate lies between the Carp Ridge and the Carp River. Its soils are a darker clay loam, deposits from the ancient Champlain Sea, over the friable limestone bedrock. This site has plants of the vinifera vines of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as hardier hybrid varieties – Marechal Foch, Frontenac, Marquette, Vidal and Muscat Ottonel.

The different soil types between the two sites, aspect and slope determined where each variety was planted. In a way, these vineyards are the experiment, the testing ground for the dream of vineyards in this part of the Ottawa Valley – setting out a range of different types of grape vines, doing the backbreaking work of planting the vines and burying the canes for the winter, then exposing them to the risks of frost each spring, testing their mettle and their ability to thrive in this unique environment.

 

Harvest 2016

While you read this, Brian is quietly bursting with excitement at the prospect of being onsite for the Carp estate harvest, and the opportunity to make the first KIN Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from their own grapes. The small facility is prepared for the event, and Alan will be recruiting his students to help with picking the grapes. There’s very close monitoring to ensure that the fruit achieves optimal ripeness and intensity. Brian expects that the yields will be low – perhaps as little as one tonne per acre – but that is part of the deal when working in a site on the ‘bleeding’ edge of winemaking.

The killing frost of May 2015 weakened some of the vines and killed others in the lower block of the property (replanted this spring), further limiting the size of the harvest this year, as well as for a couple more years. Brian explains, “This uncertainty, as well as the limitations on yield, are key reasons that we will continue the relationship with our grower in Niagara over the long term.” Their target for 2016 is to produce 1000 cases of wine, with the goal of doubling that in 2017. Oh and did we mention their yields might be down a bit more because of the wild turkeys eating the perfectly ripened Pinot Noir grapes? Ask Brian and Alan when you visit them at the winery…

 

Patience. Patience. Patience!

During my visit, Brian continuously talks about the importance of patience and a commitment to nurturing the grapes – as the raw ingredients – and to nurturing the process of winemaking to ensure the faultless expression of the terrior in the wine. He sees the KIN wines – the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – as a vehicle for cool-climate wine aficionados to experience pure flavours of the terroir, to learn about the personality of vitis vinifera in the Ottawa Valley and the ways in which organic and biodynamic practices deliver that unique experience.

Brian laughingly talks about his ‘job’ since joining KIN full time this spring. “I’m multi-tasking, marketing with restaurants, selling at farm markets, working in the vineyard and, oh, yes, I’ll be doing some winemaking soon as well!” But you can see from his expression that he is as excited as Alan and Chris, perhaps more so now that he is onsite for the Carp site’s first harvest.

And I think you’ll agree when you taste the wines that you’ll be lined up to taste the 2016 vintage when it’s released!

Cheers & enjoy your KIN wines!

 

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

KIN ‘Dark Horse’ Frontenac 2015
$19.95kin-bottle-pouring

Never heard of Frontenac? Here’s a great opportunity to try a well-made wine, produced from the fruit of a vine that is a cross of a hybrid and the very cold hardy Vitis riparia, developed at the University of Minnesota and introduced in 1996. The grapes are quite small, which would suggest good flavour concentration, and wines from this grape generally show flavours of red fruits and good levels of acidity. Brian gave the must extended skin contact, resulting in intensely lovely dark colour. The wine was then aged it for several months in American oak to polish off the flavours.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Deep ruby, this offers intriguing aromas, combining perfumed notes of red rose, lifted red and black cherry notes and a subtle herbaceous character. Dry, medium bodied, you’ll note a touch of oak aging underlying the wash of tasty, juicy red berry and cherry flavours. There’s a roundness to the texture with a touch of warmth and oaky toast on the tangy finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Bright, fresh and flavourful, this will pair well with meals such as turkey with cranberry or with duck with a cherry reduction.

Cellaring: Drinking well now or cellar for 2-4 years

 

KIN Vineyards ‘Understory’ Marechal Foch 2015 VQA
$12.95 (375 mL bottle)

Marechal Foch (or just ‘Foch’) is a French hybrid that ripens early and is a vine that is cold hardy. Foch was grown in many Canadian vineyards until the 1980s, when government incentives to plant vitis vinifera led many grape growers to remove it. Now still grown in a handful of vineyards across the country where winemakers excel at producing intensely flavoured wine from the grapes of old vines, as well as fortified wines of great depth and intensity.

This Marechal Foch was produced from grapes grown in the Kinburn vineyard, the wine lightly aged in American oak.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Deep purple, this wine offers intense aromas of sweet dark berries along with earthy notes and a whiff of graphite. Dry medium bodied, its clean, fresh flavours of blueberry and blackberry are garnished with a light kiss of spice and toast, the fruit dominating through the tangy finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve with roast lamb, gourmet burgers or an early autumn stew.

Cellaring: Drink now or over the next 12-18 months

 

KIN Chardonnay VQA 2015
$29.95

Produced from the fruit harvested from an acre in the Lincoln Lakeshore appellation, grown specifically for KIN, this Chardonnay is aged in very lightly toasted French oak barrels, 50% of which are new. Given the very limited production available from KIN’s own vineyards (the first harvest of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir will take place this fall), Brian plans to continue to use this carefully selected fruit from Niagara.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Lovely restrained aromas of sweet vanilla, hints of melted butter, ripe tree fruit and citrus tantalize the nose. Dry, mid-weight, the wine shows real purity of fruit—crisp apple and juicy pear mingling with flavours of lemon-lime and a touch of grapefruit pith. It’s nicely balanced, clean and fresh in texture, showing notes of spice and white pepper on fresh finish. A true cool-climate Chardonnay!

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve with seafood pasta, coquille St-Jacques, or roast chicken.

Cellaring: The wine was recently bottled, so we recommend waiting a month or so before opening. This wine will age 5-7 years

 

KIN Pinot Noir VQA 2015
$29.95

Produced from fruit from the same vineyard as the Chardonnay, cropped at 2 tons per acre. Brian selected two clones of Pinot Noir for this wine, one which delivers more tannins, while the other offers more intensity of colour and fruit. The grapes were gently pressed in a small basket press, the wine aged 10 months in French oak using two different toast levels. Picking Pinot is fussy work – yet many hands make light work (see the photo below!)

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This is a classic, elegant cool-climate Pinot Noir, offering perfumed floral notes, subtle red fruit aromas, and hints of crushed leaves and earth. Dry, light-mid weight, nicely framed by lively acidity and light, fine-grained tannins, the wine also shows wonderful freshness of flavour with tangy red fruit—Morello cherry, raspberry and red plum skin to the fore. Brian’s light hand with oak is evident in the delicate notes of spice and vanilla on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve with duck breast with a cherry sauce, or with grilled salmon or trout.

Cellaring: This wine was also recently bottled and will benefit if held a few more weeks. Consider keeping it for your Christmas turkey feast. It has the cellaring power to last 5-7 years.

kin-team

 

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~


With KIN Chardonnay…

Braised Pork Tenderloin with Apples
Lucy Waverman, Dinner Tonight
Serves 4
Photo credit: The Ann Arbor News

kin-porkIngredients

2 Tbsp butter
1 lb. pork tenderloin
½ cup chopped onion
½ tsp dried rosemary (or 1 tsp fresh, if available)
½ cup apple juice
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
½ tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Macintosh apples peeled, cored and coarsely chopped

Method

Heat butter in skillet on medium-high heat. When it is sizzling, add pork tenderloin. Sear meat for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove tenderloin, reserve & reduce heat to medium-low.

Add onion and rosemary to skillet & sauté for 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Add apple juice & vinegar, scraping up any bits in pan. Add mustard.

Raise heat & cook 2-3 minutes or until mixture is reduced by half.

Add apples & tenderloin to pan. Lower heat to medium & simmer gently for 20 minutes or until pork is firm & no longer pink. Slice & serve with roast potatoes, the apple mixture on the side.

  

With KIN ‘Dark Horse’ Frontenac…

Seared Duck Breast with Cherries & Port Sauce

Recipe & Photo Credits www.epicurious.com
Serves 2

duck-table-overview-kin-vineyardsIngredients

2 5-6 oz. duck breast halves, or one 12-16 oz. duck breast half
2 Tbsp chilled butter, divided
¼ cup finely chopped shallot
½ cup low-salt chicken broth
8 halved pitted sweet red cherries, fresh or frozen
2 Tbsp Tawny Port
1 Tbsp orange blossom honey

Method

Place duck breast halves between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Pound lightly to even thickness (~ ½-3/4”). Discard plastic wrap. Using a sharp knife, score skin in ¾” diamond pattern (do not cut into flesh.

Melt 1 Tbsp butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle duck with salt & pepper. Add duck, skin side down, to skillet & cook until skin is browned & crisp, about 5 minutes. Turn duck breasts over, reduce heat to medium & cook until browned to desired doneness, about 4 minutes longer for small breasts & 8 minutes longer for large breast for medium-rare. Transfer to work surface, tent with foil to keep warm & let rest 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour all but 2 Tbsp drippings from skillet. Add shallot to skillet & stir over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add broth, cherries, Port and honey. Increase heat to high & boil until sauce is reduced to glaze, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Whisk in 1 Tbsp cold butter. Season sauce to taste with salt & pepper. (With this tasty sauce, you may wish to double the recipe!)

Thinly slice duck. Fan slices out on plates. Spoon over sauce & serve with roast autumn vegetables.

  

With KIN ‘Understory’ Maréchal Foch’

Roast Sirloin Steak with Mushroom Sauce

Recipe & Photo credit: Lucy Waverman, Dinner Tonight
Serves 6

roast-strip-loin-kin-vineyardsIngredients

1 3½ lb sirloin steak, about 2” thick
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
3 Tbsp butter
8 oz. wild mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup red wine
1 ½ cup beef or chicken stock
2 Tbsp chopped parsley

Method

Trim fat from steak. Combine mustard, garlic, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, paprika and 1 Tbsp oil. Brush over both sides of steak. Season with salt & pepper. Marinate 4 hours or overnight in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 450F.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil in large ovenproof skillet on medium-high heat. Add steak & cook 3 minutes on each side. Place skillet in oven & bake for 15-18 minutes for rare, or until desired degree of doneness. Place on carving board & let rest while making sauce.

Heat 2 Tbsp butter in skillet on medium-high heat. Add mushrooms & sauté until limp. Add balsamic vinegar & wine & reduce until ¼ cup remains. Add stock & reduce by half.

Reduce heat & stir in remaining 1 Tbsp butter. Stir in parsley. Slice steak thinly & top with mushroom sauce.

 

With KIN Pinot Noir…

Balsamic Chicken with Mushrooms & Sundried Cherries

Adapted from Troy & Cheryl-Lynn Townsin, Cooking with BC Wine
Serves 6-8
Photo credit (as close to recipe as we could find!): Simply Recipes

balsalmic-chickenIngredients

1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken stock
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 Tbsp flour
½ lb. pancetta bacon
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (or to taste)
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup dried cherries, chopped
¼ cup good quality balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste

Method

Dredge chicken in flour seasoned with salt & pepper.

Over medium-high heat, fry pancetta in olive oil until crisp. Remove from the pan & set aside. Brown chicken on both sides in bacon fat then remove from pan. Sauté onion, garlic & mushrooms until soft.

Add cherries, wine, vinegar, chicken stock, pancetta & chicken & simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes (add extra chicken stock if evaporation requires). Check the seasoning & adjust with balsamic vinegar if necessary.

Serve with frenched green beans, roasted cherry tomatoes and mashed potatoes.

 

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections! 

 

 

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Niagara College teaches the best in Canada!

Posted by David

Saturday, September 17th, 2016
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Niagara College Teaching Winery
–  September 2016 –

Hard to believe that it was almost six years ago when we first introduced YOU – our Savvy Selections subscribers – to the incredible wines from Niagara College Teaching Winery. Since then, we have watch enrollment into the winemaking program grow in unison to the growth of the Canadian wine industry.  Along the way, the winery has won numerous awards – in Canada and internationally – for their wines.  The college has provided the career opportunities for many of their students in the Canadian and international wine industries.  And their graduates are so well trained and have extensive experience that Niagara College recently hired one of their own alumni – Gavin Robertson – as their winemaker.  Isn’t that a wonderful full circle?

We’re excited to offer outstanding wines from this amazing facility, where students and faculty work together on every stage of winemaking from harvest to packing up the boxes for this month’s deliver.  With the 2016 harvest now underway with grapes picked to make sparkling wine and white wine grapes now being collected this week, the students are getting their hands right into real life vineyard experience!

 

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find these INCREDIBLE wines. They are all food-friendly and ready to drink!

BalaNCe Brut – Sparkling wine made in the traditional method, with subtle fruit and a fine bubbly mousse.

2011 Dean’s List Pinot Noir – an earthy and flavourful, a premium Pinot Noir that WOWed our Savvy Team.

2011 Dean’s List Meritage – Your friends will think that wine came from Napa when they taste this big, well-aged blend!

Chosen by your personal Sommeliers….just for you

With every sip, it is easy to forget that Niagara College Teaching Winery is a classroom. The wines the students make are meticulously hand-crafted, using the best grapes, equipment and barrels available. After all, they aren’t just making wine, they’re teaching students how the best wines are made.

Want to stock up?

Call on us at any time you would like additional bottles of your favourite Niagara College Teaching Winery wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections.  We’re your Wine Hotline! Reach us on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca.

Cheers!
-Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Niagara College Teaching Winery

Presented by Sommelier David Loan

The beginning of September is a busy time for Ontario winemakers. Grapes are being harvested, the first crush has begun and the weather needs to be watched continually.  Gavin Robertson, though, has double-duty: while overseeing the harvest, he’s also overseeing dozens of new students as they get ready to learn how to make wine.

Gavin is the winemaker at the Niagara College Teaching Winery (NCTW) – Canada’s first and only commercial teaching winery. He makes beautiful wine (as you will discover with your Savvy Selections), all the while he is introducing a new generation of students to the art, science, and work of winemaking.

“I’m here at the outset of their careers,” Gavin says of his students.  “Their first harvest, first time pruning a row, first ice wine harvest.

“When the temperature drops to minus eight in January, all of our first and second year students as well as our faculty are out at 5 am harvesting.  And it’s terribly cold and wonderful  magical all at once!”

Slowing down the pace…

Gavin (in photo left) grew up in Almonte in the Ottawa Valley.“I knew more about maple syrup than wine,” he laughs. He joined a wine tasting club while at university, and later moved to Europe for two years. While there, he got to know the culture of wine in France and Spain. “I worked odd jobs back in Toronto and found I was missing the physical craft of wine. Having been raised in the country, I wanted to slow the pace down a little bit.

“It was a series of fortuitous events. I went for a bike ride through Niagara-on-the-Lake and discovered their wines and how great and developed the industry was. I applied to the Niagara College program and realized it was a mix of science and art and agriculture. It was holistic.”

Loads of Opportunities

Gavin says working at a teaching winery has brought new opportunities. The college has assisted Gavin in working at wineries in Central Otago, New Zealand, and Tasmania, Australia to help refine his wine knowledge and gain experience. While things slow down at other wineries, we’re busy with research projects and cider and beer,” he said.

NCTW has been an active participant in the Canadian Oak Project, which is evaluating the use of Canadian oak wine barrels, and comparing the results with American and French oak. “Canadian oak tends to be a bit robust in terms of taste profile. It has a very fine grain and needs a decently ripe fruit to stand up to it. It really showcases the cooperage”.

Just wait til you try the 2011 Dean’s List Pinot Noir in your Savvy Selections  – it is a fantastic example of Canadian oak-aged wine.

International Impact

Asked what he takes the most pride in, Gavin immediately returns to talking about his students. “You can walk into virtually any winery in Ontario and many in Nova Scotia and British Columbia that have our grads in them. NCTW graduates are working in Portugal, France, even the South of England. “This little school in southern Ontario is having a big impact internationally”, Gavin explained.  “Recently, the goal is to involve the students in the vineyard more. The winemaking is the more romantic side but it’s important to have truly skilled labour in the vineyard. We’ve advanced in terms of science and technology and it’s important that we extend that to the vineyard.

“Any winemaker will tell you that good wine is made in the vineyard. It’s great to be involved in the thirty-three acres we have on the college grounds. “

Here’s to the many hands involved in learning to make great Canadian wines like the ones you have in your Savvy Selections.

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Let’s get tasting! We picked a sparkling wine made in the Traditional Method along with two absolutely stunning red wines from the excellent 2011 vintage. The reds were released just this year, so they’ve had lots of time to mellow and age. Just make sure you drink them soon!

BalaNCe Brut VQA Niagara Peninsula $24

Made in the Traditional Method (second fermentation occurs in the bottle as done with making French Champagne), this lovely Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blend  is the perfect accompaniment to a celebration or first course, or just for lovers of good sparkling wine. Notice the label has accentuated the NC in the word Balance…as in Niagara College.  Clever isn’t it?

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The wine offers a good, fine mousse. It has striking lemon, peach, and wet stone notes, and we detected grapefruit, mint, and apricot on the finish. It’s very dry but very delicate.  An absolute delight!

Suggested Food Pairings: BalaNCe Brut will go well with any of the usual Champagne pairings, such as oysters, lobster, or other seafood. But we think it will work beautifully with a Niagara peach, arugula & prosciutto pizza (recipe below) – oh my!

Cellaring:  Drink at 7-9ºC. Can be cellared for up to a year.

 

Dean’s List Pinot Noir (Canadian Oak Project) VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake 2011 $20

We love the fun report card labels on the Dean’s List wines! These premium wines include notes by famed Canadian wine writer Tony Aspler, who tasted the wine when it was still in the barrel. his report card reveals his tasting notes back then….compare to our notes your impressions to see & taste how aging has changed the wine since Tony first tasted it!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: “Absolutely Stunning!” said Debbie. We are confident you will same the same thing. A tawny red, it’s load with flavour: sour cherry, cedar, spice, leather, cigar, and blackberries. The tannins are moderately high – more so than we’ve ever tasted from an Ontario wine – and it’s a big, bold wine that’s ready for food.

Suggested Food Pairings: This wine has so much flavour, it can easily stand up to big red meats. How about grilled lamb chops (recipe below)?

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, and don’t try to hold it for more than 12 months. Serve between 11-14ºC.

 

Dean’s List Meritage VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake 2011 $25

Winespeak: Did you know that the wine term “Meritage” is a portmanteau of the words “merit” and “heritage? The word is an American invention, to provide a term that reflects blends similar to those in Bordeaux. It’s pronounced the American way, rhyming with “heritage”.

 A blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 27% Merlot & 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, we loved this full-bodied, food-friendly, beautifully rich wine. And we loved it’s low price even more. This is a steal – after you taste this wine & you want more bottles…call us to arrange additional bottles for you!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Loads of dark fruit, black pepper, plum, raspberry, and earthy notes balance the high (13.5 per cent by volume) alcohol. It’s velvety smooth, juicy, with soft, warm tannins. The flavours reflect the nose, and add in some fantastic cigar box and black olive notes.

Suggested Food Pairings: We see this with a rich Autumn stew, such as a French hunters’ stew (recipe below).

Cellaring: At its peak right now, we recommend drinking it within two years. Serve at 14-16ºC.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With NCTW BalaNCe Brut…

Peach & chevre pizza with arugula & prosciutto

Serves: 2 medium-sized pizzas
Recipe & Photo credits: Five and Spice
Originally adapted from Shutterbean

Ingredients

1 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1⅓ cup warm water (just gently warm to the touch, not hot)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp. salt
3-4 cups bread flour
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 peaches, pitted and cut into eighths
8 oz chevre (soft goat cheese)
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups arugula
slices of prosciutto – as much as you like!
sea salt

Method

Make the pizza dough early in the morning of the day you want to eat the pizza. Or make it the night before. Combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer with a bread hook (or in a large mixing bowl, if you’re going to knead by hand). Let it sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast has started to become foamy.

Add 3 cups of the flour, stir until it’s just sort of mixed together, then let it sit for 10-20 minutes to autolyse (this step is optional, but it helps develop the gluten). Next, add the salt and the olive oil and start the mixer stirring on low speed (or squeeze the olive oil and salt in using your hands, until worked into the dough). Knead the dough with the bread hook, or by hand on a lightly floured surface, for 5 minutes. Add just enough extra flour so that the texture of the dough is lightly tacky, but not completely sticky.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, put in the fridge and let rise for 8-12 hours. It should double or even triple in size.

When ready to bake the pizza, heat your oven to 500F, preferably with a pizza stone in it if you have one. Take out your pizza dough and divide it in half. On a well floured surface, stretch each half of the dough into an approximately 12-inch circle (or rectangle, as the case may be), then let it rest for 10-15 minutes.

While the dough is resting, toss the sliced red onion with the balsamic vinegar in a large bowl. Let this sit for 10-15 minutes to lightly pickle the onions. Then, gently stir in the peach slices.

When the dough has finished resting, stretch each half further into a circle as thin as you can make it without breaking the dough – if the dough does tear, just press it back together.

Transfer each stretched piece of dough to a parchment lined baking sheet or a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal.

Top each of the pizzas with half of the peaches and onions, making sure to leave the remaining balsamic vinegar in the bowl because you’re going to toss the arugula in there. Break the chevre into small chunks and scatter half of it evenly over each of the pizzas. Sprinkle the pizzas well with sea salt.

Bake each pizza one at a time, either directly on the pizza stone or on the baking sheet you have it on, in the hot oven until the crust is nice and golden brown (mine took only about 8 minutes, but the time depends on how thin your dough winds up being). While the pizzas are baking toss the arugula & prosciutto with the remaining vinegar and the 1 Tbs. olive oil plus a pinch of salt. After each pizza comes out of the oven, top it with half of the arugula. The arugula should wilt a bit with the heat.

Let the pizzas cool at least 5 minutes before slicing, then slice and serve.

 

With NCTW Dean’s List Pinot Noir …

Grilled Lamb Chops

Recipe and photo: FoodNetwork.com
Serves 6

Ingredients

2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Pinch cayenne pepper
Coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 lamb chops, about 3/4-inch thick

Method

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, cayenne, and salt. Pulse until combined. Pour in olive oil and pulse into a paste. Rub the paste on both sides of the lamb chops and let them marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Remove from refrigerator and allow the chops to come to room temperature; it will take about 20 minutes.

Heat a grill pan over high heat until almost smoking, add the chops and sear for about 2 minutes. Flip the chops over and cook for another 3 minutes for medium-rare and 3 1/2 minutes for medium.

 

With NCTW Dean’s List Meritage…

Beef Chasseur

Recipe & Photo credit: Food.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

3 garlic cloves, crushed, divided
1 1⁄2 teaspoons seasoning salt
1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
8 (8 ounce) filet mignon steaks, 1-inch thick
6 Tablespoons butter, divided
2 Tablespoons brandy
1⁄2lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
3⁄4 cup dry red wine
1 cup chicken broth
1⁄2 cup beef broth
1⁄2 cup water
1⁄4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons currant jelly

 

Method

Combine half the garlic, the seasoned salt, and the pepper. Pat the meat dry and rub with the garlic mixture.

Sear the steaks in a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of the butter until brown on the outside with the center raw. Arrange the steaks in a 13 X 9 inch baking dish.

Pour the brandy into the skillet and stir over moderate heat, scraping up the brown bits. Add remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. When the butter is foaming, add the mushrooms and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and reduce heat to low. Stir in the tomato paste and remaining garlic.

Remove from the heat; whisk in the wine, chicken broth, beef broth, and water. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by a third.

Add Worcestershire and currant jelly. Adjust seasonings to taste and thin the sauce to a coating consistency.

Cool and pour over steaks. (At this point steaks may be covered and refrigerated overnight. Allow them to come to room temperature before cooking.).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the filets, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes for rare, 20-25 for medium to medium-well.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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