Archive for ‘Wine articles’

The Rosé Report – July 2019

Posted by Ophelia Bradly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s to summer!

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

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


In this assortment of Rosés, you will find…

Foreign Affair Amarosé 2018

$18.95
Niagara

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

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

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

KIN Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé 2017

$24.95
Ottawa Valley

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

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

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

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

Morandin Estates Cold Creek Rosé 2018

$20
Prince Edward County

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

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

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

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

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

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

Redstone Winery Rosé VQA 2017

$17.15
Niagara

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

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

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

Southbrook Vineyards 2017 Triomphe Cabernet Franc Rosé

$19.75
Niagara-on-the-Lake

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

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

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

Tawse Winery 2017 Spark Rosé

$30.15
Niagara

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

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

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


~ Rosé Recipe Box ~

A Summer BBQ favorite to enjoy with Rosé wines

Crunchy Thai Salad with Peanut Dressing

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

Ingredients

Thai Salad

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

Peanut Dressing

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

Instructions

Thai Salad

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

Peanut Dressing

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

To Serve

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


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

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

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

Price for August’s assortment:

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

Deadline to order this parcel is Sunday Aug 11th.  

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

Cheers & Enjoy your summer!

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The Rosé Report – June 2019

Posted by Ophelia Bradly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s to summer weather!

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

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

In this Bouquet of Rosés, you will find…

Closson Chase Winery Rosé VQA 2018

$21.95
Prince Edward County

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

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

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

Creekside Estate Winery Rosé VQA 2017

$15.95
Niagara

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

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

Suggested Food Pairing: You can’t go wrong with this wine. The colour, the bouquet & the taste… It’s a versatile wine that can be served chilled on its own or with any of the creations in our Rosé Recipe Box. Be sure to have a batch of the Rosemary & Mayo condiment in the fridge in case you feel the urge coming on to crack open this bottle of wine as the sunsets.

Di Profio Estate Wines Gamay Rosé VQA 2017

$18.95
Niagara

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

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

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

Di Profio Estate Wines Sparkling Rosie VQA 2016

$28.95
Niagara

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

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

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

GreenLane Estate Winery Rosé VQA 2017

$17.95
Niagara

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

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

Queenston Mile Vineyard Pinot Noir Rosé VQA 2017

$30
Niagara

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

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

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

~ Rosé Recipe Box ~

A Summer BBQ favorite to enjoy with Rosé wines

Homemade Condiments

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

Condiment #1: Tomato Jam

From Martha Stewart
Makes 1 ½ cups

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

Ingredients

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

Method

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

Condiment #2: French Fig Olive Tapenade

From Simple Nourished Living
Makes 1 ½ cups

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

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

Ingredients

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

2 tablespoons olive oil

Method

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

Additions & Variations

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

Condiment #3: Herb Mayonnaise

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

Ingredients

Salt & pepper
Mayonnaise
Various fresh herbs from your garden:

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

Method

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

Condiment #4: Sriracha Mayonnaise

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

Ingredients

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

Method

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

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

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

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

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

Price for July’s assortment:

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

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

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

Cheers & Enjoy your summer!

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The Rosé Report – May 2019

Posted by Ophelia Bradly

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

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

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

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

In the May Bouquet of Rosés, you will find:

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s to summer!

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

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

In this Bouquet of Rosés, you will find…

Huff Estates Rosé VQA 2018

$20
Prince Edward County

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

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

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

Keint-He Portage Rosé VQA 2017

$22
Prince Edward County

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

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

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

Meldville Wines by Derek Barnett Rosé VQA 2018

$20
Niagara

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

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

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

Rosehall Run ‘Just One Rosé’ VQA 2017

$17.95
Prince Edward County

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

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

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

Two Sisters Vineyards Margo Rosé VQA 2017

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

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

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

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

Westcott Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé VQA 2018

$22.95
Twenty Valley (Niagara)

And another family run winery! Like Keint-He, the Westcott family are making a range of wines focused on Chardonnay & Pinot Noir grapes.  In the past years, their Rosé sold out in a matter of weeks.  We are delighted to be the first to feature this ever-popular wine.  This year, the wine is made using 100% Pinot Noir.

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

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

~ Rosé Recipe Box ~

A Spring & Summer favorite to enjoy with Rosé wines

Gorgonzola & Strawberry Canapés

From Food & Drink Magazine
Makes 24 canapés

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

Ingredients

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

Method

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

Have your fridge full of Rosé wines all summer long…

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

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

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

Price for June’s assortment:

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

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

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

Cheers & Enjoy your summer!

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Malbec. Tango. Steak.

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018
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I confess.  I have a glass of big bold Malbec red wine from Argentina beside me while I write this article.  What. A. Fabulous. Place.  The wines – both red & whites.  The steak.  The landscape.  The history.  I have told everyone since my trip that if you have the opportunity, jump on a plane and GO!

Argentina holds many mysteries.  Before I embarked on this trip, I did not know what to expect. I did not expect that I would learn about the wine industry while riding horseback in the Andes Mountains.  Nor did I expect that I would be touring the wine regions in a classic Citroen ‘Slowkar’ that was nearly the same age as me! I did not expect that I would be treated like a rockstar at one of Argentina’s largest wineries – Zuccardi Valle de Uco.  I did not expect that most days breakfast with coffee would cost more than a delicious steak dinner.  I also did not expect to see couples dancing tango under a tree that has been the meeting spot in Beunos Aires for over 300 years. And never did I imagine that the blue skies would dramatically turn into a hail and rain storm that pelted down so hard that collapsed the roof in the Buenos Aires airport.  Click here to see my travel photos >>

“Come and visit me at my winery anytime”.  Those words was all that I needed.  When Jose Zuccardi, Owner & President of Familia Zuccardi invited me to his homeland over a 3 hour lunch when I met him at the Vancouver International Wine Festival, I knew that this was a business card that I was going to keep.

The name Zuccardi may ring a bell, and so it should.  Like Yellow Tail and Jacobs Creek, Zuccardi’s wine – FuZion – quickly became a household name in Canada when it WOWed everyone of its quality as well as its incredible price of $7.45.  It still to this day baffles me the economics of how a bottle of delicious Malbec-Shiraz red wine can be made in the southern hemisphere, travel the world by boat and still land in my hands for less than $8.

 

“Malbec is Argentina’s emblematic grape because it is like a friend who will never let you down” – Edgardo del Pópolo, Argonomist

 

Winemaking in Argentina has a deep-rooted history.  For over 400 years, various grape varieties were grown for domestic consumption.  In the 1960 and 1970s Malbec wine was jug wine that was considered rustic.  Winemakers focused on quantity production not quality. This all changed in the mid-1980’s when famous consulting winemakers – Paul Hobbs from California, Michel Rolland and Herve Joyaux-Fabre from Franc, Roberto Cipresso and Alberto Antonini from Italy – recognized how they could dramatically adjust the existing winemaking processes to craft fine Malbec wines that could compete on the world stage. With their Midas touch, Argentinean Malbec took the world by storm.

Wines of Argentina reports that by the turn of the 21st century, there were over 1,500 wineries. Swiftly, Argentina has become the main producer of Malbec, with vines covering with nearly 40,000 hectares, compared to its neighbour Chile with about 6,000 hectares, France 5,300, South Africa about 4,000, New Zealand 80 and California has barely 45.

This stat is particularly interesting as Malbec originally stemmed from France where it was grown as a grape typically used for blending. The name Malbec was attributed to the French ‘mal bouche’ translates to ‘bad taste’, referring to the rustic characteristics of the grape that was used in small proportions in wines with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It is amazing how a ‘bad thing’ in France, eventually turned into an incredibly good fortune for Argentina.

In 1852, Malbec vines were brought to Argentina by Michel A. Pouget, a French agronomist who was hired by the Argentine government.  Less than 10 years later, the phylloxera bug decimated and destroyed the majority of the European vineyards (hit especially hard was France) and Malbec instantly disappeared.  The silver lining though is that half a world away, this grape variety was alive and flourishing. Today, with the popularity of Malbec, French winemakers are buying back Malbec vines from Argentina.

Taking a sip of my wine beside me, this Malbec wine begs for a BBQed steak, hearty stew or grilled mushrooms. Most are full bodied and heart warming – great for winters and BBQ seasons.  Winemakers in Argentina are experimenting different styles of Malbec wines to make it a wine to enjoy year round.  I have to admit, while in Argentina, temperatures soared to 38C and for me, a cold beer (not wine) was the best reprieve.

Winemakers are experimenting in every way to Malbec grapes be on everyone’s lips while they are in Argentina.  “Would you like your Malbec chilled?” we were asked at a bistro in Mendoza.  My Spanish is limited but I knew I heard the question right.  Fresh Malbec is a new style of young red wine that has not been aged in oak barrels and best enjoyed within a year.  Chilled like a white wine, this new way to drink Malbec is intended to quench the thirst as a cold beer does on a hot summer day.  “We are trying to encourage this style of wine so that people continue to drink red in heat,” explains Panos Zouboulis winemaker Bogeda Krontiras, one of the few certified biodynamic wineries in Argentina.

Visit a wine shop in Argentina, you will find shelves overflowing with Rose wines of all shades of pink made from Malbec grapes.  White, rose and red sparkling wines made with 100% Malbec are plentiful too.  This style will rapidly grow and take the world by storm with international companies such as Chandon (France), Codorniu (Spain) have established operations in Argentina and bring their talented sparkling winemakers with them.

Sweet late harvest and fortified port style wines and spirits like grappa are made with Malbec. Even Blanc de Malbec crafted by Vincentin Family Wines has turned heads when they launched in 2014 the first-of-its kind white wine made with 100% Malbec and aged in oak barrels. I would have jumped at the chance to try a white Malbec.  When you are at the LCBO or SAQ, periodically these rare Malbec wines are exported, so be on the look out!

 

Raise a glass to the rise of Malbec

Today – April 17 – is Malbec World Day.  Established in 2011 by Wines of Argentina, this is the day in the wine world when we uncork countless bottles of Argentinean Malbec wines at special wine events in over 70 cities around the world.

You can have your own Malbec celebration!  Here’s some of my top picks of Malbec wines at the LCBO:

 

Zuccardi Q Malbec 2013
$19.95

This is a classic expression of Malbec. Deep and dark in colour with violet, blueberry, blackberries aromas wafting from the glass. On your first sip, there is evidence that the wine has soft tannins, juicy black fruit, black pepper tastes with a little dark chocolate on the finish.   Uncork this Malbec to enjoy with a herb encrusted pork tenderloin or Sunday roast beef with all the trimmings.

One of the things that impressed me when I visited the winery was that they are using concrete tanks rather than the typical stainless tanks commonly used in winemaking.  And there are only a few oak barrels in the cellar….the winemaking team focuses on creating wines to bring out the natural flavours without the help of oak. That is incredible and the result is pure and outstanding.

 

BenMarco Expresivo 2014
$39.95

This wine will draw your eye to its stunning label.  A topnotch blend of 80% Malbec, 20% Cabernet Franc, loaded with fruit – pomegranate, boysenberry, ripe & juicy blackberries.

Made by one of the top female winemakers in Argentina –  Susana Balbo – this medium to full bodied red wine has a long dark chocolate and coffee finish can be enjoyed with the full range from meatloaf to prime rib.

Versado Reserva Ancient Malbec 2012
$59.95

You might think that Malbec is a wine that is typically under $25, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you splurge on this one.  A group of renown Canadian winemakers and winery owners joined forces to purchase a vineyard with plantings of 100 year old Malbec vines. Winemaker Ann Sperling (who is head winemaker at Southbrook Vineyards in Niagara & from Sperling Vineyards in British Columbia) makes incredible Malbec wines with the grapes that she has salvaged from this old vineyard.

This wine was just released. Wine writer Tony Aspler sampled a pre-release bottle and scored it an impressive 93 points: “Dense ruby colour; spicy, floral, blackberry nose with vanilla and cedar notes; medium to full-bodied, dry, ripe blackberry and blackcurrant flavours with a mineral thread and a lively spine of acidity; silky mouth-feel finishing firmly with a chocolate note.”

 

This article appeared in the March/April 2017 issue of Ottawa Life Magazine

 

Travel photos of Debbie’s trip can be seen on Savvy Company’s Facebook page – click here>>

 

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Bubbly & potato chips – my fav NYE pairing

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, December 31st, 2015
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Prepping to ring in the New Year, I started to write a blog to share secrets about sparkling wine…and then I found this article on www.food52.com that was loaded with interested tidbits about champagne…some really interesting factoids that I did not know.

So, grab a flute glass…err a wine glass (read more below), pop a cork & be ready to have some of the mysteries behind the bubbles unravelled with this article I found on www.food52.com .  I`ve selected the ones that Wowed me the most.  Click to read the full Top 10 Things you probably didn`t know about Champange.

Thanks to the folks at food52.com for sharing these need facts with us…they`ll be great conversation starters as the clock strikes midnight….I`ll raise a glass to that!

Happy New Year

-Debbie

Top 10 Things you probably didn`t know about Champagne

Source: www.food52.com

 

1. Champagne made in the 1800s doesn’t taste anything like today’s Champagne.

bubbles glassesWay back in 1668, when a Benedictine monk named Dom Pérignon was working at his goal to create the best wine in the world, what he was creating was nothing like the dry, brut Champagne we know and love today. Through the better part of the nineteenth century, Champagne was incredibly sweet, almost syrupy. But when Madame Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin Clicquot began exporting her Champagne to England, she discovered that the English preferred dry Champagne, so she began making two Champagnes: her original sweet Champagne, indicated by its white label, and a dry version with the yellow Veuve Clicquot label we know and drink today, which was categorized as goût anglais or “English taste.”

As a side note, goût russe or “Russian taste” was used to classify the sweetest Champagne, which was about six times sweeter than our sweetest Champagne today. (Russia was a huge driver of the Champagne industry—Cristal is so-named because it was actually served in leaded crystal glass bottles to Russian tsars.)

There is still a range in the sweetness of Champagne (which comes largely from the grape juice added during its second fermentation), but as a whole, it’s much drier than its predecessors. It’s measured by dosage, or grams of sugar per liter of Champagne, from extra-brut at zero dosage, which is currently trendy, to demi-sec and doux with up to 50 dosage.

Note from Debbie: I highly recommend to read the book (while sipping on bubbly): The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman who Ruled it.  Hands down one of my favorites.

2. Champagne would be murky and yeasty if a brave woman hadn’t invented a way to get the yeast out.

When Madame Clicquot took over her husband’s Champagne house after his death (hence the name Veuve, or “widow”) Clicquot, she became the first woman to take charge of one—but to say she rose to the occasion would be an understatement. One of her great contributions to the Champagne world was to invent a riddling rack.

After Champagne is fermented once in barrels, it’s bottled and yeast is added for its second fermentation. The yeast eats the sugar, which causes Champagne’s famous effervescence, but a lot of dead yeast are left behind at the bottom of the bottle. Clicquot’s solution was to create a rack that puts the bottles at an angle, cork-side down, so that the yeast falls into the neck of the bottle in roughly two weeks and becomes a compact and easily-removable puck of yeast. Today, many houses do this process with machinery called a gyropallette, but Clicquot’s method lasted for hundreds of years and is responsible for Champagne’s clarity.

wine_tasting_sparkling3. Champagne flutes and coupes are all about decoration—to really taste it and get the most out of it, it should be drunk out of a wine glass.

While flutes and coupes are a beautiful way to present Champagne, they aren’t practical. Many of our tasting senses are connected to smell, yet these traditional glasses prevent us from getting our noses into the glasses to get a whiff. A Champagne maker once explained it is as “going to see the orchestra with earplugs.”

4. When buying expensive Champagne, you should ask if you can have a bottle from the restocking room.

When buying Champagne, especially those in a clear glass bottles (like Ruinart), you should ask if you can buy one from the store’s back room rather than from the shelf, as Champagne starts to degrade in quality when it’s exposed to light (hence, Champagne caves) so buying it straight out of its shipping box will ensure a higher quality.

6. You shouldn’t store Champagne in the refrigerator.

…When Champagnes are kept in the refrigerator, the cork dries out and shrinks so that the carbonation is able to escape, and other smells and flavors can get in. And Champagne (and all wine) should always be stored on its side to keep the cork damp and ensure a tight seal.

7. The best Champagnes come from warm and dry harvests.

The particularly warm and extremely dry summer we just had may not be a happy indicator of Mother Earth’s condition—but it’s good news for Champagne. To put it simply, heat equals ripeness, which equals sugar, and dryness means grapes won’t be water-logged by too much rain, and will be more concentrated in flavor. During these good years, Champagne houses will often release special vintages, after aging them for 7 to 10 years, so the 2006 Moët was just released. Keep your eye out for the 2015 ten years from now—rumor has it, it’ll be worth the wait.

9. Champagne wouldn’t exist without clay.

sparkling wine closeup of glassesOne of the elements that makes Champagne such a unique growing region—200 days of rain aside—is the clay in the soil and deep under the earth. It leads to some of the best growing conditions and also aging conditions. The reason so many aging caves are underground (Krug’s is actually in a warehouse) is because clay creates the perfect conditions for Champagne to rest: It maintains the perfect level of moisture, absorbs shock so the bottles don’t get shaken, and stays cool.

Interestingly enough, the bottom of the ocean has some of the same qualities of clay: Earlier this year, 170-year-old Veuve Clicquot was recovered from the Baltic Sea, and its flavor (age aside) was largely uncontaminated—the cool, dark, and very moist conditions of the sea kept it in good care.

10. Many of the largest Champagne houses—and most of those mentioned in this article —are all owned by the same company.

Champagne has long been an industry with many internal ties between companies: Madame Clicquot was the great-granddaughter of Nicolas Ruinart, and there are relationships between houses and growers that have existed since the 1700s. Today, some of the best brands included Dom Perignon, Ruinart, Veuve Clicquot, and Krug are all owned by the mega-brand, LVMH.

 

This posting is an excerpt of the full blog written by Leslie Stevens – a contributor on www.food52.com.  The photos inserted here are all taken by Debbie Trenholm of Savvy Company.  The entire blog can be found on http://food52.com/blog/14783-10-things-you-probably-didn-t-know-about-champagne

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Happy Beaujolais Nouveau Day!

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, November 20th, 2014
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Deb in vinesThe third Thursday of November – today – is a milestone date in the wine world –wine stores have a special delivery of Beaujolais Nouveau wine.

What is all the fuss about? Beaujolais Nouveau or ‘first wine’ is wine made from grapes that were picked in the most recent harvest.  By the time the bottles arrive at your local LCBO or wine shop, the contents are generally 7 to 9 weeks old. According to history books, over a century ago, casks of brilliant coloured ruby red wine, typically made from Gamay grapes, were shipped from the Beaujolais wine-producing region (near Lyon) to harvest festivals and bistros throughout France.

The popularity of this wine became an international phenomenon to the point that, in 1985 the French Government established that the third Thursday of November is the worldwide release date of Beaujolais Nouveau wines. Today, wine shops around the world stock their shelves to give wine lovers a taste of what this year’s grape harvest will produce with fully aged wines. Every year there is a good showing of Nouveau wines from France, a few from Italy & Canada with some bottles from other parts of the world.  This year there are 9 Nouveau wines that got in the spirit.

What to expect from Beaujolais Nouveau when you pop the cork?

Beaujolais NouveauTypically, Beaujolais is made from Gamay grapes.  This variety creates a light wine that is bright red in colour with cherry and strawberry aromas and tastes.  As Beaujolais Nouveau was picked, bottled and shipped in less than two months, consider drinking this styled wine similar to eating chocolate chip cookie dough. Fresh, easy drinking and best with simpler dishes of pasta, pizza, burgers or lots of cheese rather than a big steak or roast beef.

The general ‘rule of thumb’ is to pop the corks & enjoy the wine before Christmas, as they tend not to improve with age, rather they lose their vibrant characteristics.

With all kinds of powerhouse and velvety wines available, why would anyone want something so grapey? The reason is simple – to celebrate this year’s grape harvest.

 More info about the region, the wines & festivities can be found at www.beaujolais.com

Cheers!
Debbie

 

On the shelves at the LCBO

From France…

Art’s Beaujolais Primeur Nouveau
$13.95
The funky design on the bottle sets the mood for this fun wine.  A light red wine that smells like candy (think Swedish berries). Each sip is loaded with cherry flavours combined with a taste that reminds me of fresh-out-of-the oven strawberry rhubarb pie. Fresh acidity on the finish.  It is an easy drinking wine that would be good with pizza, pasta or burgers.

DeBoeuf Gamay Nouveau
$9.95
Georges DeBoeuf is a well-known producer of Beaujolais wines and Nouveau Beaujolais.  Uncorking a bottle of DeBoeuf Nouveau wine you’d expect quality. This one is a classic, medium bodied, solid wine full of cherry & strawberry aromas and taste – exactly what you’d expect when you open up a bottle of Nouveau.

Catalans Primeur Syrah Merlot
$9.95
A French twist – breaking away from tradition & doing something completely different– making Nouveau wines with grapes other than Gamay.  The result of this experiment is a wine that reminds me more of Koolaid than red wine.  Honestly though, this is a characteristic of Beaujolais Nouveau so it is not a bad thing.  Bright ruby colour, fresh juicy cherries & cotton candy.

Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau
$13.95
Sorry – no review as this wine was not available at the tasting

From Italy…

Negrar Novello Del Veneto
$9.95
I had to double check that the label stated 2014, because this wine was like no other Nouveau I have ever tried.  I was knocked over with the HUGE aromas and tastes of over ripe red fruit…perhaps that means that Italian wines from Veneto region will be big & bold this year….jury is still out.

Tollo Novello Rosso Terre di Chieti
$9.45
Ask for the Nouveau wine with the lion on the label & you will be impressed with this Italian wine.  Medium to full body (uncommon for Nouveau wines), jammy over ripe fruit shows through on this one too with some acidity on the finish.  Mama Mia, bring on the pizza for this wine.

From Ontario…

The Fool Reif Estate Gamay Nouveau VQA
$11.95
No foolin’ around here! Reif has created this Nouveau wine with classic characteristics that you’d expect of a  freshly made wine.  Juicy aromas and tastes of cherry pie filling or is it fresh pomegranate juice with a fruity & acidity combo. The sweetest wine of the bunch, so grab some creamy cheese to calm down the punch of the flavours that will no doubt mellow out as other Reif red wines age in the cellar.  This wine certainly shows promise that 2014 is a good vintage for Ontario wines….red wines worth waiting for.

You’ll find these in LCBO Vintages…

From France…

Beaujolais Villages Nouveau (Joseph Drouhin)
$15.95
Joseph Drouhin keeps good company with Georges Duboeuf when it comes to making Beaujolais Nouveau wines.  These are definitely the leaders of the pack.  This is a good red wine that surprised me that it was Nouveau.  Cranberry & herbal combination in the aromas that continued into the taste, this wine is worth the highest price tag of the lot.

Beaujolais Villages Nouveau
$14.95
It was hard to compare this wine with the $9.95 version (see above) as they were equally good red wines.  In my notebook, I have written & circled ALIVE.  Dark in colour with fresh juicy red & black cherries combined with tart cranberries that creates some lively acidity on the finish. A solid red wine.

And which one(s) to choose?

I had the time to taste all of these wines twice and for fun, I exchanged my top 4 wines with another reviewer (and extra ordinary wine teacher – afterall I caught the wine bug from him!) Vic Haradine of WineCurrent.com.  Our list overlapped on just two…showing that there is a Beaujolais Nouveau for everyone.  Click to read Vic’s tasting notes.

Grab a few of these colourful wines and toast to the 2014 harvest & the red wines to come!

 

Taken by Debbie Trenholm, Savvy Company

Taken by Debbie Trenholm, Savvy Company

 

 

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Exec Lifestyles: Be part of Ottawa’s social and networking scene

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
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Ottawa Business Journal – Executive Dining Guide

April 9, 2008

There is a buzz around Ottawa and it doesn’t involve politics. It is all about wine. A city once known to roll up its sidewalks by 6 p.m. now has a vibrant wine and food scene. Restaurants, wine clubs, small and large companies are hosting special events featuring gourmet menus paired with great wines to tempt palettes.

“In Ottawa, it’s easy to fill your calendar with wine and food events every week,” says David Gourlay, executive director of business development at Oracle.

Wine events can be a fun and interactive exploration into the world of wine. Here is a step-by-step guide to hosting a wine tasting for clients, employees or friends.

Step 1 – PLANNING YOUR WINE TASTING

Format

Depending on how formal and structured you would like the experience, a wine tasting can be conducted in a classroom-style format with rows of wine glasses waiting to be sampled, or as simple as a cocktail-style event where your guests sip wines and nibble hors d’oeuvres at food and wine stations. For a unique and memorable evening, host a sommelier-led dinner where each course is paired with wines that enhance the flavours of each dish.

Professional sommeliers can arrange all the details and lead your wine tasting. This takes the pressure off you as the event organizer, as the sommelier is well versed in themes, wines, food pairing and sourcing the equipment to make your wine tasting event the recipient of rave reviews.

Theme

Your wine tasting event can focus on exploring wines of a certain country or region, or examine one type of wine, such as pinot noirs, sauvignon blanc or chardonnays from various wine regions around the world.

Wine Selection

Greet your guests with a glass of sparkling wine as it kicks off your event with a party feeling. The bubbly cleanses and refreshes your palette, preparing it for more delicious wines and food to come.

Feature six to eight wines, as too many will numb your palette. Each sampling of wine should be approximately two ounces (about one inch in an ISO wine tasting glass … more about glasses below). This equates to serving 10 people per bottle of wine.

Food

Wine was meant to be enjoyed with food. At a minimum, offer your guests sliced baguettes and saltine crackers to cleanse their palettes between wines. By offering an assortment of hard, soft and blue veined cheeses, your guests can experience how food can change the taste of wine. For an enhanced wine and food experience, pair each wine with hors d’oeuvres. If you are hosting a wine tasting during a meal, restaurant and hotel chefs will create a special table d’hote menu showcasing their culinary talents.

Step 2 – LET’S TASTE

Wine tasting engages all of your senses. It is as easy as eyes, nose and mouth, taking note of the aromas, the flavours and the mouth feel of the wine. There are no rules to wine tasting as everyone’s impression is personal and this makes for interesting conversation. Use the following as your wine tasting sheet.

Let’s taste a wine together … Pour approximately two ounces into your wine glass.

Eyes

Tilt the glass 45 degrees away from you. Using the white tablecloth as a backdrop, note:

the colour and clarity;

What colour does it remind you of?

– White wine descriptors – pale, straw, or golden

– Roses – cotton candy pink, salmon, terracotta

– Reds – garnet, fire engine red, cherry, purple, ink or opaque

Nose

Let the fun begin. Hold the glass by the stem, swirl the wine in a steady circular motion to introduce air into the wine to release the aromas.

What does the wine smell like?

– White wines – dry, floral, citrus, tropical fruit, pineapple, pears, apples

– Roses – floral, cherry, delicate, pink grapefruit

– Reds – cherry, strawberry, blackberry, earthy, vanilla, leather, dried fruit

Mouth

Take a sip, chew the wine (as if it were mouthwash) to coat your entire mouth. Take note:

n Is the wine light, medium or full bodied?

n Does the wine taste the same as it smells?

n Do the flavours linger or disappear?

Try each wine with food and note how the food changes your enjoyment of the wine.

Step 3 – DISCOVERY

After an evening of swirling, sipping and perhaps spitting, it is no wonder that a wine tasting is a fun way to explore the world of wines as well as socializing with friends and networking with clients. After all, there is this new buzz in Ottawa and you can be a part of the wine scene.

Tools of the trade

ISO wine tasting glasses: These tulip shaped glasses allow you to easily swirl two ounces of wine and the narrow rim captures the aromas. For a formal tasting, three glasses are needed per person, or a casual cocktail style event requires one glass per person. A wine tasting dinner should have a glass for each wine served.

White tablecloth: used as a white background to judge the colour of the wines

Water: for rinsing the glasses and refreshing your palette in between wines

Spitoon or bucket: used to empty unwanted wine and rinsing water.

Don’t forget the corkscrew!

Cheers!

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Gold. Silver. Bronze.

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
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Ottawa Business Journal – Executive Dining Guide

November 2007

When you walk into a wine store, there are rows of wines awaiting your discovery.  But how do you to select the right one?  There are many factors to consider, and often the mention of winning a medal at a wine competition can influence your choice.  For this reason, wineries compete in wine competitions hoping to win a medal that they can promote in order to influence your purchase.

This past weekend, 117 such medals were presented at the 22nd annual Ottawa Wine and Food Show to the winners of the Cellars of the World Wine Competition.  This prestigious wine competition that attracts wineries from all corners of the world, was managed by The Savvy Grapes.  The weeks leading up to the competition day, required hours of receiving, categorizing and logging 425 bottles of wines.

On the day of the competition, swirling and sipping took place behind closed doors. A panel of 25 judges, consisting of wine writers, wine industry professionals, wine consultants and accredited Sommeliers were divided into groups based on their preference of wine styles.  Throughout the morning, each group judged 60 plus wines ‘blind’ without knowledge of the winery, country or vintage year.  The categories for this competition are based on style and grape variety then further broken down into three price points; $9-14.99, $15-19.99 and over $20.  All exhibitors at the Ottawa Wine and Food Show were invited to participate in the competition entering wines that they intend to serve at the show. As a minimum, there must be three wine entries per category.  This year, the largest category was Shiraz/Rhone varietals $9-$14.99 with over 30 entries.

The room is silent apart from the sounds of the judges swirling, sipping, spitting and writing.  Meanwhile, behind the scenes, students and graduates of the Sommelier programs of Ottawa’s Algonquin College and Gatineau’s La Cité Colléagiale orchestrate the pouring of each category.  The competition chair watches over the judges as they are prohibited to discuss their perceptions of the wines until all of the judges at the table have submitted their score sheets for tabulation.

“The results of wine competitions provide the wine-buying public with an incredible guide for their future wine purchases. The wineries, the wine agents and the general public anxiously await the results, and with good reason—it’s amongst the medal winners that everyone can find a wine to suit their taste and budget”, said Vic Harradine, co-author of the newly released book newly released book, The 500 Best-Value Wines in the LCBO and a veteran wine judge.

“Winning a medal at the Cellars of the World Wine Competition can help launch a wine as the restaurant trade and consumers are looking for award winning wines. This is particularly true with imported wines that are new to the Ontario market and for new Ontario wineries that are just starting’, explained Halina Player, owner and host of the Ottawa Wine and Food Show. Case in point, in 2006, a little known winery, Lammershoek Winery of South Africa, entered a selection of their wines into the competition and won two gold medals.  As a result, these wines can now be found on premium wine lists at some of Ottawa’s finest restaurants.  This year, Lammershoek entered their wines into the competition and won three medals including a gold.

Mark Cosgrove, Ottawa representative for the wine agency Churchill Cellars Ltd stated, “Participating in the Cellars of the World Wine Competition is important to Churchill Cellars and winning an award can have significant impact at the Ottawa Wine and Food Show. People visit our booth specifically to try the wines that have won medals.  We are proud to have received ten awards this year (2007).  We will definitely have a busy booth!”

Mountain Road Winery of Beamsville, Ontario (in the Niagara wine region) can attest to the impact of winning a medal and a busy booth.  At last years show, this wineries’ unassuming booth attracted people wanting to sample its award winning Mountain Road Red.  This blended red wine won gold and tied for the Best of Show Red Wine.  By the end of the show, winery owner Steve Kocsis reported that he was totally sold out of his inventory at the Niagara winery of this $16 wine.



The Savvy Grapes recommends these award winning wines of the Cellars of the World Wine Competition currently available at the LCBO:

Sauvignon Blanc/Semillion over $15

Gold Medal winner – Babich Sauvignon Blanc 2006, New Zealand

Chardonnay over $20

Gold Medal (tied) & Best of Show French White Wine

Jaffelin Pouilly Fuisse 2006, France

Off-Dry White Wine $9-$14.99

Silver Medal winner – Angels Gate Sussreserve Riesling VQA 2006, Canada

Other White Wine $9-14.99

Silver Medal winner – J&F Lurton Bodega Pinot Gris 2007, Argentina

Rosé Wines

Silver Medal winner – Torres DeCasta Rosé 2006, Spain

Pinot Noir $15 – $19.99

Gold Medal winner – Robert Mondavi Private Selection 2006, California, USA

Bordeaux Blends over $20

Silver Medal winner & Best of Show French Red Wine

E.A.R.L. Cyril Gillet Vieux Chateau Landon 2003, France

Other Red Wines – Old World $9-$14.99

Silver Medal winner – Cecchi Bonizio Sangiovese di Maremma 2005, Italy

Other Red Wines – New World over $20

Lammershoek Pinotage 2005, South Africa

For a complete list of the Cellars of the World Wine Competition award winning wines, visit http://www.playerexpo.com/WineShow/Visitors/Competition.htm

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So many wines, so little time!

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
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Ottawa Business Journal – Executive Dining Guide

April 9, 2007

When it comes to buying a bottle of wine, people tend to be creatures of habit. It is too easy to select a wine label or grape variety that one knows and has enjoyed.  With wine stores full of rows upon rows of wines waiting to be enjoyed, why not be adventurous and discover some hidden gems?

To minimize the risk of purchasing an unknown wine, here are some suggested ‘Hidden Gems’ to try:

White Wines

Viognier (pronounced Vee-on-NYAY)

This white wine grape grown in the northern Rhone region of France, was once considered “rare” as the French would keep this wine for themselves. But the secret is out about this delicious wine and Australia, Spain, Italy, South Africa, California and Canada are growing this grape variety and creating outstanding dry medium bodied wines. Australia is also blending Viognier with Shiraz to give the red wine more intense aromas and a touch of sweetness.

What to expect of this white wine? Light gold in colour, this medium bodied wine has intense aromas of floral, peach, pear and mango that continue into the taste with a light acidity that makes this wine refreshing and notably different.  Perfect to enjoy on its own, or with roasted pork, chicken, ham, and shellfish.

Suggested Viogniers to try:

Domaine des Aspes, France, LCBO Vintages $15

Graham Beck Viognier, South Africa, LCBO Vintages $18

Renwood Select Series Viognier, California, LCBO Vintages $20

Albariño (pronounced al-bah-REE-nyoh)

Until I attended a wine industry conference last summer, I knew nothing of this rare white grape variety grown in the Galicia region of southern Spain. Since my introduction to this hidden gem, I have noticed more wines of this grape variety on the store shelves…and good thing as the wines are refreshing!

What to expect of this white wine? Albariño grapes are considered high premium quality grapes.  They are thick skinned, so only a small amount of juice is extracted creating an intensely flavoured, medium to full bodied white wine. The colour ranges from pale yellow to golden, rich with complex aromas of peach, pear and apricots with a zing of citrus.

Suggested Albariños to try:

Adegas d’Al Tamira Seleccion Albariño, Spain, LCBO Vintages $18

Laxas Albariño, Spain, LCBO Vintages $20

Red Wines

Aglianico (pronounced ah-LYAH-nee-koh)

This grape red variety is primarily grown in the Campania and Basilicata regions of southern Italy.  The grapes are grown to be blended, however, recently more single varietal wines (winespeak: wines made with one grape variety) of Aglianico are making their way to the store shelves.  Aglicanico wine is intended to be aged as it starts out with concentrated aromas and flavours with light acidity and tannins. Over time, this wine evolves into a nicely balanced wine with earthy and chocolate flavours.

When to enjoy with this red wine?  With younger Aglianicos, pasta with meat sauce complements the acidity in the tomatoes as well the wine. As the wine ages, serve with heartier dishes of stuffed beef tenderloin, veal marsala, lamb chops and grilled mushrooms.

An Aglianico that is currently available at the LCBO:

Tenuta del Portale Aglianico del Vulture, Italy, LCBO Vintages $17

…be on the look out for more!

Carmenère (pronounced car-men-EHR)

Truly a hidden gem….Until recently, Chilean winemakers thought this grape was Merlot.  After clinical testing it was found to be slightly different from Merlot and determined that it was a long lost grape variety originally from Bordeaux that was phased out and never replanted in France. When the immigrants left France to settle in South America, they took rootstock (thinking it was Merlot) with them and planted the vines in their new ‘home’.  Today, Carmenère grapes are only grown in Chile and the Chileans are proud of showcasing this grape as Chile’s signature wine.

What to expect from this red wine? Typically medium bodied, the wine has a deep red colour with intense aromas and flavours of spice, smoke and plum. A great wine to sip on its own, or with lamb, spareribs, BBQed beef or vegetables.

The Chileans don’t often export Carmenère wine as they like to keep it for themselves, so be on the look out!  Some currently available at the LCBO:

Casillero del Diablo Carmenère – LCBO $13

Errazuriz Estate Carmenère – LCBO $14

Concha Y Toro Terrunyo Carmenère – LCBO Vintages $30

There are many more hidden gem wines waiting to be sampled.

Wine and food events are great ways to sample a variety of wines…and find some of your own Hidden Gems.  These Ottawa events sell out quickly. Be sure to purchase your tickets in advance.

California Wine Fair – Friday April 13th 7:30-9:30pm at the Westin Hotel. 

Hidden Gems wine tasting hosted by The Savvy Grapes – Thursday April 19th 7pm at Nicholas Hoare Bookstore.

LCBO Vintages Taste Our Latest: Premium Taste and Buy Event – Monday April 30th 6:30-9:00pm at the Chateau Laurier. 1-800-266-4764

Be adventuresome and you may be pleasantly surprised with your new discoveries. 

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The Riedel Revolution Continues

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
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Ottawa Business Journal – Executive Dining Guide

October 2007

There is a different buzz in the city this week. It’s not about the latest business acquisition or the record breaking Canadian dollar – it’s about fine crystal. Wine enthusiasts are looking forward to an elegant evening at Brookstreet Hotel on Oct. 4, when Maximilian Riedel, CEO of Riedel Crystal America, will launch Vitis, his new line of crystal glassware.

The Riedel family (pronounced REE-dle as in needle) has been in the glass business for more than 300 years, spanning 11 generations. They have revolutionized the way we taste and enjoy wines with the introduction of their delicate crystal glasses that are specifically crafted and designed to enhance the characteristics for each grape variety.

“You can serve wine in any glass, but once you drink wine in a Riedel glass, you will be amazed at the difference. The aromas and flavours of the wine are amplified and sipping the wine is delightful in the delicate crystal,” says Diane Paradis, co-owner of CA Paradis who is hosting the event.

What is the difference?

Actually, it’s both academic and scientific. In the late 1950s, Professor Claus Riedel recognized that the bouquet, taste, balance and finish of wines were affected by the shape of the glass from which they were drunk. Understanding this, he focused on developing different shapes of glasses for each grape variety to maximize the individual’s enjoyment of that wine. In 1961, Riedel launched its revolutionary portfolio of glassware with different shapes and sizes. Today, the Riedel product line has more than 400 styles of glasses and decanters that are enjoyed by thousands of wine enthusiasts around the world.

How does it work?

A wine glass is a delivery mechanism to send wine onto your tongue (or palette). There are four sensory points on your tongue – sweet (tip of tongue), salty (top of tongue), acid (sides of tongue) and bitter (back of tongue). When you take a sip of wine, the shape of the glass actually affects how the wine is delivered into your mouth. Riedel glasses are specifically shaped to send the wine directly to the areas of your tongue that correspond to the characteristics of the grape variety of that wine. For example, a sauvignon blanc typically displays tastes of citrus, herbs and a refreshing acidity. Riedel’s sauvignon blanc glasses are shaped to drive the wine straight to the sides (acidic) and back of your tongue (bitter) to amplify these specific sauvignon blanc characteristics.

“Wine seems dead in a basic glass, but comes alive when served in Riedel crystal,” says Stephen Beckta, sommelier and owner of Beckta wine & amp; dining. “The wines are more expressive and taste substantially better.”

Mr. Beckta uses Riedel glasses in his restaurant to ensure that his patron’s wine and food experience is memorable.

Riedel’s products were not an instant success. It took more than 20 years for the wine world to embrace the Riedel approach. The tipping point in Riedel’s history came in 1987, when winemakers such as Angelo Gaja, Robert Mondavi and wine publications such as The Wine Advocate, the Wine Spectator and Decanter Magazine endorsed Riedel glassware. These endorsements helped to put Riedel glasses on the tables of the wine world. Under the leadership of Georg Riedel (Maximilian’s father), Austria-based Riedel Crystal became the world’s leading wine glass company.

Those who have tried Riedel swear by it.

“We are proud to sell Riedel glasses and decanters. The product does exactly what it says it will do,” Ms. Paradis says. “A customer explained it best – it is the difference between polyester and silk.”

Wineries, winemakers and sommeliers agree. Karen Brunet, sales manager at Huff Estates Winery in Prince Edward County, says Riedel glasses are used exclusively for the sampling of Huff wines at its tasting bar and patio restaurant.

“There is a wow factor with Riedel,” she says. “The glassware is high-quality crystal, elegant yet incredibly durable. The decanters are mouth-blown crystal and one of a kind. Riedel products are works of art.”

James Bertrand, president of National Capital Sommelier Guild, is also a Riedel enthusiast. “I never really enjoy pinot noir wines until I tasted one in a Riedel pinot noir glass, then I fell in love.

Event Info

Participants at “An Evening with Maximilian Riedel” will sample a variety of wines in Riedel’s newly designed Vitis glassware. This elegant evening will include a wine tasting with award winning sommeliers including:

Veronique Rivest (Canada’s top Sommelier 2006 and internationally acclaimed Wine Woman 2007),

Stephen Beckta (owner and sommelier of Beckta wine & dining),

James Bertrand (president of the National Capital Sommelier Guild),

Vic Harradine (co-author of Wine Current) and

Debbie Trenholm, (sommelier and president of The Savvy Grapes).

Tickets are $170 per person which includes four Riedel Vitis glasses.

To purchase tickets for this Oct. 4 event to be held at the Brookstreet Hotel, contact CA Paradis on 613-731-2866 or http://www.caparadis.com

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