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Archive for ‘Savvy Sommeliers wine tips’

DIY Wine Tasting – tips from our Sommeliers

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
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Have you been renovating all winter? Show off your new digs by having friends and neighbours over for a do-it-yourself wine tasting?  It does not need to be an overly grand production, rather a novel ‘reason’ to have people over to ooh and ahhh about your handy work.

Like hiring a designer or contractor, you can call on a Sommelier (check out our 17 Savvy Sommeliers who are there to help you) to take care of all the details and work with a caterer to prepare a menu paired with each wine.   Here’s our tips & trick on hosting your own wine tasting:

Savvy Company - GiancarloStep 1 – It’s all about the experience

Depending on how formal and structured you would like the experience to be, a wine tasting can be conducted at a large dining room table with rows of wine glasses waiting to be sampled.  For a more casual experience, try a reception style in your family room, but the reality is that everyone may end up in the kitchen. This way they can help themselves to a table full of different wines and platters of hors d’oeuvres throughout the evening.

Step 2 – What’s your theme?

Your wine tasting event can focus on exploring wines of a certain country or region or can examine one type of wine such as Pinot Noirs, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnays from various wine regions around the world.

The top 5 themes for wine tastings that our Savvy Sommeliers design & host are:

A Trip Around the World in 5 Glasses
Cheese, Chocolate & Wine!
An Endless Night of Bubbles! (showcasing different styles of sparkling wines)
Passionate about Pinot (featuring Pinot Gris & Pinot Noirs from around the world)
Be Adventurous – wines under $20 you’ve never tried

Step 3 – Wine shopping made simpleCathy Law with glasses

With your theme in mind, now comes the fun part of selecting the wines.  Here are tips from the pros at Savvy Company:

Welcome your guests into your newly-renovated home with a glass of sparkling wine.  The popping of the cork sets the mood for a party (watch that it does not spray onto your freshly-painted walls or hit the ceiling!) and a glass of bubbly cleanses and refreshes your palette, preparing it for the evening ahead of delicious wines and foods.

Feature 5 to 7 wines as too many wines 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.

Step 4 – What about food?

Wine is made to be enjoyed with food.  At a minimum, offer your guests sliced baguettes and water crackers to cleanse & refresh their palettes between wines.  To augment the food selection, have an artisan cheese board with an assortment of hard, soft and blue veined cheeses.  Go a step further and enhance the wine and food experience by pairing each wine with hors d’oeuvres.

Tip from the pros:  leave pickles, dips & vegetable sticks for another party and serve foods like grilled vegetables, hearty meatballs, chicken satay, roasted nuts & olives …and don’t forget cheese!

Now…Let the fun begin!

Savvy Company - AmandaEnjoying wine engages all of your senses.    There are no rules to wine tasting as everyone’s impression is personal and this makes for interesting conversation. I always say, “Wine tasting is as easy as eyes, nose and mouth.” With each wine, take note of the colour (eyes), the aromas (nose) and the flavours (mouth).

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

Eyes…

Tilt the glass 45 degrees away from you, using a white tablecloth as the backdrop and notice:

The colour and clarity of the wine. 

What colour does it remind you of:
Whites – pale straw or golden
Rosés – cotton candy pink, salmon or terracotta
Reds – garnet, fire engine red, cherry, purple, ink or opaque 

Nose…

Aromas or bouquet, however you call it, Sommelier pros suggest to hold the ISO tasting 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? 

Basic descriptors are:
Sparkling wines – nutty, refreshing, crisp
White wines – dry, floral, citrus, tropical fruit, pineapple, pears, apples
Reds – cherry, strawberry, blackberry, earthy, vanilla, leather, dried fruit

Mouth….

And now to taste! Take a sip, chew the wine (as if it were mouthwash) to coat your entire mouth.

Take note:
Is the wine light, medium or full bodied?
Does the wine taste the same as it smells?
Do the flavours linger or disappear?
Try each wine with food and note how the food changes your enjoyment of the wine.

Repeat…Repeat…Repeat!

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 in your newly renovated home.

 

Tools of the trade

ISO wine tasting glasses: These tulip shaped glasses (right) allow you to easily swirl 2 ounces of wine and the narrow rim captures the aromas.  ISO glassesFor a formal tasting, one glass per featured wine is needed per person, or a casual cocktail style event requires one glass per person to re-use throughout the event.

White tablecloth:  drape your table with a basic white tablecloth so that your guests can use it white background to really see the colour of the wines

Pitcher of 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!

 

Savvy Company - ShawnLet the experts do it for you!

If you are DIY-ed out and want a Sommelier to design and organize a fun wine event in your home, call on our Savvy Sommeliers us anytime 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926).

Or join us at our Taste & Buy events to sip and sample Ontario wines which are not available at the LCBO.

Next event: County in the Capital – Wednesday April 8th- featuring hard-to-find wines, craft beers & ciders from Prince Edward County. Tickets $65 + bring a friend for $1.  Buy your tickets quickly – this event will sell out fast!>>

Cheers!
Debbie

 

This article appears in the ‘Spaces’ issue of Ottawa Life Magazine – March/April 2015

 

 

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Raise a glass – it’s the holidays!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014
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Is your calendar overflowing with holiday parties all across town? Or are you going to host your own soiree for neighbours & friends this year?  However you deck the halls, here are some savvy tips & recipes that will make your season bright

Pop the corks!

wine_tasting_sparklingI always like to serve bubbly when the guests arrive.  In fact, you will notice that we always do this at every Savvy Event. The sound of popping corks sets the mood and the rush of bubbly wine overflowing the flute glasses easily brings on a smile. Sparkling wine is fun and you don’t need to break the bank by serving fine French Champagne either.  Here are some Ontario sparkling wines to have in the fridge for any occasion during the holidays:

Casa Dea Cuvee Rosé $17.95 – a glass of this dry bubbly from Prince Edward County adds WOW power with its gorgeous pink colour.  Available directly from the winery or make it a reason for a getaway to The County!

Palatine Hills Estates Prestige Sparkling $20.00 – a crisp, dry bubbly from Niagara-on-the-Lake that won gold at this year’s Ottawa Wine Challenge – the wine competition associated to the Ottawa Wine & Food Festival. Look for it in Vintages at the LCBO.

Serve up Seasonal Sparkling Sippers…

Both of these sparkling wines are ideal (and the right price) to make into cocktails with a holiday flare.

SOMMELIER TIP: serve bowls of potato (Ms Vickies is my favorite) or vegetable chips laced with sea salt for your guests.  The salt magically reacts with the bubbles of the sparkling wine making it feel like fireworks in your mouth!

Sparkling Red Poinsettia Cocktail

Makes 8-10 glasses
Ingredients
1 bottle of chilled sparkling wine – either white or rosé
½ cup (125 mL) of either Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec, chilled
1 cup (500mL) cranberry juice, chilled

To make the cocktail…
Mix all ingredients together in a jug and pour into champagne flutes.

Garnish with fresh cranberry or sugared rim

Ginger Snap

Makes 8 – 10 glasses
Ingredients
2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
½ cup sugar
1 bottle of chilled sparkling wine – white is preferred 

To make the cocktail…
In a small saucepan, boil ginger, sugar and ¼ cup of water until syrupy (about 2 minutes).

Place a fine mesh sieve over a small bowl.  Pour syrup through sieve, discarding solids. (at this point, you can store syrup in airtight container in fridge for a week)

When ready to make cocktails, pour 1 tablespoon of ginger syrup into champagne flute glasses.  Top with sparkling wine & gently stir

Garnish with a festive swizzle stick or curl of citrus rind (mandarin or orange).

Shaking it up this year with craft beer & gin

Cocktails made with craft beer & gin are trending high this year.  There are over 12 craft breweries in Ottawa and small distilleries are cropping up in Prince Edward County & Niagara too.  These cocktails will WOW your friends with the chic look in the glass as well as the delicious taste.

Blue Spruce

Makes 1 cocktail
A creation by Dillon’s Small Batch Distillery located in Niagara www.dillons.ca

Blue Spruce CocktailIngredients
2 ounces of your favorite gin (Why not go local? Buy a bottle of Dillon’s Unfiltered Gin 22 at the LCBO or direct from the distillery)
1 package fresh blueberries
Squirt of simple syrup to taste (or use blueberry syrup/juice)
Juice & rind from lemon wedge
Tonic Water
Stem of fresh rosemary
Ice

To make the cocktail…
Place a handful of ice in a tumbler glass.

Pour in gin, lemon (juice & peel), a few blueberries (Feel free to give the blueberries a little mashing), syrup and top with tonic.

Give a little stir with the rosemary stem & serve

Festive Fizz

From the fine folks at www.drinkcraftbeer.com
Makes 1 cocktail

Ingredients

1 part of your favorite gin
1 part grapefruit juice
2 parts craft beer (try Perth Brewery Hopside IPA, Covered Bridge Brewery Dirty Blonde or Dominion City Brewery Earl Grey & Marmalade Saison)
1 tsp simple syrup (adjust to taste if you prefer a sweeter drink)
Sprig of mint
Wedge of grapefruit

To make the cocktail…
Shake gin, juice and simple with ice.

Pour into glass and top with beer.

Add sprig of month and wedge of grapefruit to the glass.

Can you believe it…just 2 weeks till Christmas!

Savvy Selections iconSavvy Hip Hops beer of the month clubIf you still haven’t found that perfect gift that will make a WOW impression this year, keep Savvy Company top of mind. Our team of Savvy Sommeliers & Brew Crew are ready to design a one-of-a-kind wine, craft beer and artisan cheese events for your family, clients & friends. And our Savvy Selections wine-of-the-month club is the largest in Ontario.

Did we mention that Savvy Hip Hops is the only club featuring craft beers brewed in Ontario???

Call on us ANYTIME! Savvy Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or cheers@savvycompany.ca

Happy Holiday Cocktails to you & yours!

 

 

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Discover Canada’s REAL Cranberry in The Muskokas

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014
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Looking for a getaway over the weekend?  Try visiting the Muskokas where there’s lots to see & do. Here’s something you might not have thought of….be sure to visit Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh & Muskoka Lakes Winery.  On our fall getaway, my husband & I hit a spot of bad weather & were drowned in over 100 mm of rain, which meant that our planned golf games were cancelled – greens were flooded, beaver dams were giving way there was water everywhere!

Johnston's CranberriesWhat to do when your planned game goes, literally, down the drain? Head for the small hamlet of Bala and find your way to Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh and Muskoka Lakes Winery.

The marsh is open year round and offers a fascinating walking tour that provides a great education into the production of cranberries, one of Canada’s few native fruits. No, they don’t grow in water.

The ideal cranberry marsh is dug from a peat-based soil with a stream or river nearby. The woody vines, growing low to the ground, are systematically flooded in spring to discourage insects and disease, then the berries grow dry through the summer, with the marsh flooded once again in the fall to float the berries for harvest.

Orville Johnston, who studied agriculture at my alma mater, McGill University, dreamed of a thriving cranberry industry, so he bought ideal land in the Muskokas and dug the first marsh in the late 1950s. His son, Murray, also studied agriculture (at Guelph University) and to this day carries on the cranberry marsh tradition with his family.

Muskoka LakesMurray and his wife (her family owned Gooderham and Worts Distillery and her fascination with wine led her to train as a sommelier) established Muskoka Lakes Winery in 2000, with a goal ‘to take locally grown fruit and use traditional methods to craft artisanal wine.’ Their Cranberry and Cranberry Blueberry wines, as well as the Red Maple dessert wine have won awards at the Canadian Wine Championships, and are available at the LCBO.

 

Cool Cranberry Wines

 

Muskoka Lakes Cranberry Wine 2013

Canada $15.95 (609701) 9.5% alcohol

Off-dry and fruit forward, this wine is true to its source, with aromas and flavours of lively fresh cranberry. Fermented in stainless to showcase the fruit, it’s light-medium bodied, tangy in texture and zesty through the refreshing finish. With turkey, of course!!

 

Muskoka Lakes Cranberry Blueberry Wine 2013

Canada $16.95 (609719) 10.5% alcohol

Equal proportions of cranberries and local wild blueberries are fermented together to produce a tangy, off-dry wine that offers a silky texture and fine berry aromas and flavours. It’s crisp and lively, the sweet fruit persisting on the palate, elusive notes of dried herbs and nut lingering on the finish. Slightly chilled this wine is a pleasant sipper but also a great match for roast turkey or chicken.

 

Muskoka Lakes Red Maple 2012

Canada $23.95 (50039) 15.0% alcohol (375ml)

A fortified wine, this dessert treat adds maple syrup to the cranberry wine after fermentation. The fruit shines through, with interesting notes of smoke, earth and spice. Lush and sweet, it’s fresh in texture, the purity of the cranberry and its zesty acidity shining through. A great marriage of the mouth-filling sweetness of maple and the crisp tartness of cranberry. Enjoy with a chocolate dessert.

Cheers & Enjoy these Muskoka Lakes cranberry wines!
Susan

 

 

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It’s that time of year…dinner party season!

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
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Whether you have cabin fever or mid-winter blues, warm your house with the delicious smells wafting from the kitchen & the constant ringing of the doorbell as friends & neighbours arrive. Here’s an article Debbie wrote that appeared in the latest issue of Ottawa at Home Magazine. 

Pondview Rose with foodHosting a gathering of any kind – dinner party, potluck or cocktails – can be hectic & unnerving even for the best prepared host.  Having the evening fully catered definitely takes the weight off the menu but really part of the fun is planning the menu & cooking for your guests.  With this underway, you are then faced with the looming question – what drinks to serve and should it be white wine or red wine –  or something else entirely?

“I have been called on numerous times for suggestions of crowd pleasing wines that won’t break the bank…yet will impress”, says Debbie Trenholm, Sommelier & founder of Savvy Company.  “I even had someone call me from the Spanish wine aisle at the LCBO & couldn’t decide which ones to buy.  So they texted me photos of what was on the shelf & we shopped ‘virtually’ together!”

 Debbie’s tips for your next fun wine & food filled evening:

wine_tasting_sparklingPop the corks!  Greet your guests with a glass of bubbly – it is a great way to kick off the evening.  Italian Prosecco or Spanish Cava are sure fire bets of sparkling wines priced under $20.

The 30-70 rule – buy 30% white wine & the rest red wines, especially in the winter when it is natural to want a glass of heavier wine

Chill your wine in the snow!  No need for bags of ice when there is lots of snow around. Shovel the white stuff into a wine bucket or place bottles in the snowbank at the front door or on your back deck.

Have a mini wine tasting.  Give each guest or set each place at the table with 2 or 3 wine glasses and a sampling (2 oz or so) of different wines in each.  Throughout the evening ask your guests which wine they think is best with the food.  Guaranteed that this will become a lively conversation!

A quick Wine & Food Pairing 101

grapes Niagara-on-the-Lake Sept 2013 low res“Stay close to your roots. Or, rather, stay close to your wine’s roots. Wines are always best matched with foods from the regions where they are made”, says Debbie about pairing wine and food. “Uncork a bottle of wine from Italy with a meal of Italian cuisine – afterall, both the wine and food from this country were meant to go together.  Same with French, German, Spanish fare…and Canadian too!”

White or red wine? Toss out the idea to match your wine with the meat. Fish, chicken and meat is the canvas — what matters is flavour. Make your choice on the spices, marinade or sauce—choose the wine that will make your meal sing. Debbie offers these ‘rules of thumb’:

Wine and…

…spicy food – look to the hard-to-pronounce white wine
If you’re tucking into an Indian curry, Thai dish or Mexican dinner, uncork a bottle of Gewürztraminer – the light and naturally sweet wine will play with the exotic spices and ingredients that will add WOW to your meal.

…salad – go bone dry
Think dry and crisp when matching to salads. The acidity of the vinegar in the dressing can play havoc with the wine, making it taste more acidic or ‘tinny’. Pinot Grigio from Italy or Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand are always safe bets.  Or Debbie suggests to simply skip serving wine with this course to take a break and cleanse the palate for the rest of the meal to come.

…grilled fish – smell the flowers & roses
With grilled fish you can swing both ways by serving a glass of a medium bodied floral white wine like Viognier (pronounced vee-oh-NYAH) that complements the flavours of the fish or a light bodied red wine such as Gamay or Pinot Noir – one that has notes of red roses – to amplify the charred flavours.

…heavier meats – need heat & smoke
Warm spice (think cinnamon and cloves), smoke and plum aromas and tastes in a red wine go superbly with the marinade on lamb chops, saucey spareribs or a herb encrusted roast beef.  Add to your shopping list a bottle of Carmenère from Chile (pronounced car-men-EHR) or a red Zinfandel from California.

Looking for a shopping list of wines?

Savvy Company’s Sommeliers give ‘must buy’ recommendations every two weeks in their blog ‘If I only had $100, I would buy at Vintages…’. 

Cheers & bon appétit!
-Debbie

 

 

 

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Raise a glass – Mondavi celebrates 100 years!

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013
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As a part of its centenary celebration, and recognizing the life and work of its founder, the Robert Mondavi Winery hosted a luncheon and tasting at the Fairmont Château Laurier in Ottawa.  I was delighted to be part of this special event to mark the major milestone.  The afternoon’s wine tasting was led by Mark de Vere, Mondavi’s Director and Master of Wine, who moved to Napa Valley California from the U.K. shortly after completing his WSET and Master of Wine certification.

The talented Chef Louis Simard of the Château Laurier created an innovative, intricate series of dishes featuring local produce and expertly paired with each wine:

Asparagus Salad with charred tomato, home-made ricotta, pickled egg, basil-mint vinaigrette
Smoked Salmon Rillette with grilled baguette on a bed of baby arugula
Duck Confit with Ermite blue cheese, brioche crostini, sherry-rhubarb reduction
Cardamom-Mushroom, Rubbed Lamb Sirloin & Aged Striploin  graced with lima bean cassoulet, red wine jus
Blueberry Goat Cheese Cake

Why not test out the menu yourself with these Mondavi wines – all available at the LCBO.

 

Considered as one of Robert Mondavi’s signature wines – Napa Valley Fumé Blanc (LCBO #221887, $22.95) – was first released in 1968 as an endeavour by Mr. Mondavi to redefine California Sauvignon Blanc from a sweet, unnuanced wine to one endowed with a rich, round texture complemented by a lively, fresh texture. The 2010 vintage served at the tasting certainly hit the mark, displaying beautiful aromas of tropical fruits, lime, a whiff of honeyed floral notes and a touch of nutty toast. The first sip brought out the concentrated fruit and round texture, while the crisp acidity ensured a juicy, finely balanced finish.

The wine continued to evolve in the glass, showcasing tantalizing aromas of crème brulée. The Fumé Blanc was followed by the 2010 Napa Valley Chardonnay (LCBO #310409, $25.95), a fruit-focused wine with attractive aromas of orchard fruit, pineapple and vanilla. Dry, bright and smooth, the wine again featured that fine balance of ripe fruit, well-integrated oak and fresh acidity, finishing with a touch of warmth and candied citrus.

 

The spotlight turned to the red wines featuring the Carneros Pinot Noir 2011 (LCBO #438697 $34.95), vinified to accent the ripe berry fruit, picked early to retain its freshness, then aged 10 months in French oak. Showcasing luscious cherry/berry fruit aromas, notes of smoke and spice, this is a warm, fleshy Pinot Noir, where the intensely flavoured ripe fruit is again balanced with lively acidity. Dry and spicy, it finishes with a touch of peppery warmth.

The 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (LCBO #255513, $34.95, available to June 23 for $31.95) is inky purple and tantalizingly rich, offering complex aromas of dark fruit, vanilla, licorice, spiced chocolate and a hint of herbs. Blended with a touch of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, Mark described it as a ‘classic Napa Valley Cab’, a well-balanced dry wine with perceptible tannins framing tasty black fruit, replaying the notes of herb and licorice on a finish that offers a whisper of well-integrated oak.

The third red wine was the Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (the 2008 is available in the LCBO, 670463, $144.95), produced from fruit harvested from the To Kalon Vineyard. Designed for aging yet absolutely fabulous now, this is a deep, powerful wine characterized by plush, ripe black fruit, supple yet well-structured tannins, clean acidity and lovely nuances of spicy floral notes, chocolate, dried herbs and spiced vanilla. A rich, lush, harmonious wine.

The tasting closed with the Robert Mondavi Winery’s Moscato d’Oro 2009 (LCBO #687392, $17.95, currently available for $14.90), a wine with the winery’s classic intensity and depth of flavour, beautifully fragrant and crisp, Lovely notes of natural grape juice, fruit salad and honeyed peach are lifted by a gentle touch of spritz. Simply delightful! 

 

Here’s to 100 years of Mondavi wines…and many more to come.

Cheers!

-Susan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Get sizzling with these summertime wines!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012
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Eating outdoors is one of the best ways to enjoy summer.  Why dine inside when we do that all winter long?

I strongly believe that a good meal deserves to be served with good wine. To make sure that I have wine on hand this summer, I took a daytrip to Prince Edward County – a three hour drive from Ottawa or Toronto – to buy wines at the wineries located off-the-beaten-track as well as stock piled favorites I discovered at a wine tasting that Savvy Company hosted showcasing wines from Niagara-on-the-Lake.  In both cases, wines were purchased directly from the winemaker as the wines at the LCBO has a modest selection of all of the wines that are crafted at the wineries throughout Ontario.  For a greater selection, contact the wineries directly or contact me & I’ll arrange for these wines to be sent to your home, office or even cottage!

Debbie`s Summertime Wine Picks:

Sparkling wine

Prince Edward County pick: Lighthall Vineyard Progression Sparkling Vidal VQA 2011 $20 – refreshing lemon/lime/grapefruit combo of tastes with fine bubbles

Niagara-on-the-Lake pick:  Konzelmann Sparkling Rosé $16 – looks like a sunset in the glass.  Dry, refreshing – great to sip on before dinner or to unwind with after a meal

White Wines

Prince Edward County pick: Exultet Estates Cru X White Light VQA 2011 $22.95 – The County’s newest winery making impressive wines – including this blend.

Niagara-on-the-Lake pick:  Lailey Vineyard Unoaked Chardonnay VQA 2001 $15 – a crowd pleasing dry white wine that is perfect to sip on while the BBQ warms up.

Rosé Wines

Prince Edward County pick: Karlo Estates Frontenac Gris Rosé VQA 2011 $18 – reminds me of watermelon – its colour, aromas & tastes!

Niagara-on-the-Lake pick: Pondview Cabernet Franc Rosé VQA 2011 $15 – a stunning pink colour with refreshing aromas & flavours of juicy strawberries

Red Wines

Prince Edward County pick: Kient-He Winery P2 VQA 2010 $25 – a unique blend of Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier grapes that makes a medium bodied red wine perfect for burgers or steak.

Niagara-on-the-Lake pick: Riverview Cellars ‘Old Red Tractor’ Syrah VQA 2010 $29.95 – a BIG bold red wine with a fantastic story on the label that will be a great conversation starter!

 

Raise a glass to a summer filled with delicious Ontario wines!

Cheers,

Debbie

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Wines to discover at Terroir Wine Festival in The County

Posted by Debbie

Monday, May 14th, 2012
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To prepare you for wine discoveries at next weekend’s Terroir Wine Celebration, our Sommeliers share with you tasting notes of more Prince Edward County wines.  Whether you enjoy white wine, red wine or are in the mood for a glass of Rose or sparkling wine, these wines will WOW you!

 

Huff Estates Vidalessco Sparkling VQA 2011

There is no better way to begin a dinner party (or any meal for that matter!) than with the pop of a cork of a bottle of bubbly!  This unique wine is made with Vidal grapes.  Vidal is often left on the vines to make icewine, yet at Huff Estates winemaker, Frederic Picard (originally from Burgundy France), decided to do something completely different – create a crisp & refreshing sparkling wine fashioned after the Italian Prosecco.  

Savvy Sommelier Debbie interviews Frederic  in the vineyard – watch the video

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Dry with fine mousse (winespeak: bubbles) elegant aromas & tastes of citrus (can you find mandarin or lime?) & toasted almond.

Suggested Food Pairings: For fun, serve sparkling wine with salty potato chips (the saltier the better!). The salt reacts with the bubbles & makes an even more lively sensation in your mouth – like fireworks!

 

The Grange’s Trumpour’s Mill Chardonnay VQA 2007

A visit to The Grange of Prince Edward County Winery is not only an opportunity to taste the wines, explore the vineyards and marvel at the historic restored buildings on site; a visit provides a Canadian history lesson too.

This month, we feature The Grange in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club.  This Chardonnay impressed our Savvy Sommeliers.  Chardonnay was among the first varietals planted on the Granger estate. A grape which lends itself to a range of styles, this exemplar is unoaked and displays the texture and complexity of extended lees contact.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Offering tantalizing aromas of jasmine, honeyed stone fruit, pear and mango, this is a balanced creamy yet dry wine, weighty with flavourful fruit and kissed with a touch of toasted nuts. It finishes slightly warm and gently spiced.

Suggested Food Pairing: Enjoy this wine with pasta in a cream-based sauce, with crab cakes or lobster, or with savoury roast chicken.

Cellaring:  Delightful now or over the next couple of years!

 

Karlo Estates Frontenac Gris Rose VQA 2011

Karlo Estates is a must visit as one of ‘The County’s’ wineries – housed in a heritage Loyalist barn. Owner & winemaker Richard Karlo has developed his career from being a wine judge to an amateur winemaker, then consulting winemaker & now winery owner. 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Last year’s Rose from Karlo was full of rhubarb & citrus aromas & tastes.  This vintage boasts watermelon, tangerine & ruby red grapefruit.  Crisp & refreshing, this medium bodied Rose feels delicious in your mouth & tastes wonderful too!

Suggested Food Pairings: This is a perfect wine to unwind with at the cottage, pack with a picnic or on enjoy while you soak up the sunshine in the backyard.  Serve on its own or with spicy food.

 

Rosehall Run Cabernet Franc Cold Creek VQA 2008

Cabernet Franc is often used in red wine blends, yet in Ontario, this grape grows so well that winemakers keep it aside to craft outstanding Cabernet Franc wines.  Rosehall Run Vineyards owner & winemaker Dan Sullivan found a parcel of land in The County – complete with a creek running through it – with outstanding Cabernet Franc grapes. 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Bright garnet red colour in the glass, bursting with aromas of ripe red berries, raspberry that packs an impressive punch of dark chocolate.   On the palate it is dry, medium bodied with soft tannins reminders of sour cherry & cassis.

Suggested Food Pairings: The lingering finish makes this wine a perfect match for both light & heavy dishes from BBQ sausages, lamb chops, roast duck & even grilled salmon. Debbie loves this wine with a chunk of dark chocolate! 

Stanners Vineyard Cabernet Franc PEC VQA 2010

Stanners Vineyard is one of the newest wineries to open in The County is run by the Stanner family & everyone in the family is involved!  Located near the town of Hillier (about 20 mins away from Picton), they are surrounded by other neighbouring wineries.  The Stanners made 2 Cabernet Franc wines – one all County while the other is a blend of Niagara & County.  This one was the favorite at the recent County in the City wine tasting event in Ottawa.  It was fun to try the 2 wines side by side – and this you can definitely do when you visit Terroir Wine Festival! 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Plum in colour, there are delicious aromas of blackberry, raspberry & plums too that fill the glass then continue into the taste.  It is dry & well balanced wine with a medium long finish.  A very impressive wine.  Well done!

 Suggested Food Pairings: An easy drinking red wine that would be good with grilled burgers, lasagna or even BBQed steak.  Stock up for the summer!

We look forward to seeing you in The County at Terroir on Saturday May 26th!

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Wines to WOW your Valentine

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, February 9th, 2012
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To make it a breeze to enjoy a special dinner for Valentine’s Day, Thyme & Again Creative Catering has a delicious take home menu for February 14th.  As good food deserves good wines, Thyme & Again called our Savvy Team of accredited Sommeliers to provide wine recommendations for the menu.  As Thyme & Again supports local farmers, the Savvy Sommeliers have selected Ontario wineries to enjoy with your special meal.  All of these wines are available at LCBO in the Vintages section.

Toast your Valentine with a sparkling

Outstanding white wines

Red wines that will melt your heart

 A sweet finish

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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Wines on Sale! Premium Ontario wines with an even tastier price…

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011
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Our Savvy Sommeliers are always on the lookout for great value wines. These outstanding Ontario wines on sale are a steal! They all have our Savvy Selections stamp of approval and are now marked down to under $15! You won’t find these bottles at the LCBO. Order a couple of bottles, a case of 12 bottles or our Sommeliers will give you their recommendations to make a mixed case from one of these featured wineries. Ordering is easy!

Simply phone us on 613.SAVVYCO (613.728.8926)


or email cheers@savvycompany.caand we will gladly make the arrangements for a special delivery.

Rosehall Run Vineyards– Prince Edward County

County Cuvee Chardonnay VQA 2007 – the best Chardonnay grapes from ‘The County’ go into making each bottle of this medium bodied delicious wine. NOW: $14.95 (was $17.95)

County Cuvee Gamay VQA 2008 – an outstanding medium bodied red wine full of plums and raspberry jam with light tannins. Pour a glass to unwind after work, enjoy with stew or a late autumn BBQ. NOW: $14.95 (was $17.95)

Konzelmann Estate Winery– Niagara-on-the-Lake

Winemaster’s Chardonnay VQA 2007 – From the outstanding 2007 vintage, aromas of baked apple pie fill your glass with a hint of orange at the finish. Its creamy texture has just-enough-oak that make it a stunning wine. NOW: $14 (was $16.95)

Cattail Creek Family Estates Winery– Niagara-on-the-Lake

Gewurztraminer VQA 2009 – a thirst quenching white wine with tastes that will remind you of pineapples and peaches with a splash of acidity. Great with anything spicy – Phad Thai, Indian curry and Mexican. NOW: $11.95 (was $14.95)

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Savvy Sommelier Debbie sheds some lights on bubbly

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, May 12th, 2011
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Spring is bursting forth with much to celebrate! That hazy green glow around the trees, the flirty chirping of birds & the return of BBQ parties. Let’s celebrate the shedding of winter with the excitement of spring by popping open a bottle of bubbly!

Think that sparkling wine is too sweet, too expensive or too much of an affair for any day of the week? Think again! Have you ever had a sparkling shiraz? Or a sparkling dry rosé? They exist, and Savvy Company’s Debbie Trenholm loves how the mousse (winespeak: bubbles) cleanses your palate and refreshes the senses readying for delicious dishes of spring like risotto or BBQed plank salmon.

Bubblies are made using various methods, and available at several price points. No need to wait for a special occasion, after all, spring has arrived.

Pop a bottle open & cheers!

Taltarni Brut Taché 2008, Australia $20.40 (on sale – regular $24)
Crafted using the same grape varieties used in French champagne – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier, this crisp & dry sparkling has elegant aromas of rose petals, pear & apricots. The persistent mousse leaves a refreshing taste with every sip.

Food Pairing Suggestions: Serve chilled on its own, pack for a picnic or serve with sushi.

Hardy’s Oomoo Sparkling Shiraz 2004, Australia $19.95
This sparkling red wine has an oooh ahhh factor. This wine is striking with its racing car red colour concentrated aromas of plums, boysenberry, red licorice combined with a juicy texture & refreshing acidity.

Food Pairing Suggestions: I recommend to chill it in the fridge for 10 minutes then serve on its own, or with a meal of BBQed meats. Last weekend, I popped it open to enjoy with a Sunday meal of prime rib & all the trimmings. Save a splash to enjoy with dark chocolate cake!

Enrico Serafino Moscato d’Asti, Italy $15.95
Now here is a wine that definitely smells & tastes like spring! Swirl the glass to enjoy the concentrated aromas of apricot, orange blossom, marmalade that continues into the taste.

Food Pairing Suggestions: Light in alcohol (5.5%) this is a great wine to serve at a springtime brunch or with fresh fruit.

Nicolas Feuillate Brut Champagne, France $42.50
It’s impossible to write about bubblies without including French champagne. If you’re going to splurge then get this gorgeous Champagne as it is priced less than its competitors. The fine mousse is a surefire sign of premium quality. This champagne has yeasty aromas of biscuit (think shortbreads or Arrowroot cookies) with a touch of citrus & crunchy apple.

Food Pairing Suggestions: Steamed lobster is a classic match with champagne, grilled chicken brochettes & oysters.

Let’s toast to the arrival of spring!

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