Archive for ‘Savvy Sommeliers wine tips’

Go ahead…splurge a little!

Posted by Ophelia Bradly

Thursday, October 10th, 2019
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By Debbie Trenholm, Sommelier and President of Savvy Company
www.savvycompany.ca

The most asked question at this time of year that I get?  “What wine gadget would you give a hard-to-shop-for wine enthusiasts.”  Honestly, most of my wine gizmos end up in the bottom drawer and rarely get used.  The gift I would highly recommend is giving the gift of really good wine glasses. Splurge a little and the enjoyment of wine can improve a lot.

The Riedel family (pronounced REE-dle as in ‘needle’) has been in the glass business for over 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 designed and crafted to enhance the different characteristics of each grape variety.

In my humble opinion, you can serve wine in any glass, but once you drink wine in a Riedel crystal glass, you’ll be amazed at the difference.  Whether the glass is the traditional slender stemmed glass or the stemless tumbler style, the aromas and flavours of the wine are amplified in a specially shaped glass intended to WOW with each sip.

What is the difference?  

It is both academic and scientific. In the late 1950’s, 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 their revolutionary portfolio of glassware with different shapes and sizes.  Now, the Riedel product line has over 400 styles of glasses and decanters that are enjoyed by thousands of wine enthusiasts around the world. 

There are several decanters – the Decanter Horn in particular – is truly a work of art that I wouldn’t even dare serve wine with!  Each are mouth blown crystal and one of a kind.

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 corresponds 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 is just wine in a basic wine glass.  When served in Riedel crystal, it comes alive and is more expressive and taste substantially better. They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery.  There are now other glassware companies that rival with some similarity and price points.

Riedel’s products were not an instant success.  It took over 20 years for the wine world to embrace the Riedel approach.  In 1987, the tipping point in Riedel’s history was 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 onto the tables of the wine world. Under the leadership of Georg Riedel, their crystal became the world’s leading wine glass company, based in Austria.

Those who have tried Riedel, swear by it.  And the good news is that you don’t need to have a secret handshake or be part of a wine club or go out of your way to purchase it.  Often entry level glassware is available at Hudson Bay, Winners, Homesense, even Bed Bath & Beyond. To splurge on the ‘Performance’, “Sommelier’ or ‘Vinum’ line, decanters or to buy a special 4 glass set, visit Chefs Paradis (1314 Bank St) or call us Savvy Company 613-SAVVYCO to see what we have in stock.

The glassware is high quality crystal, elegant yet incredibly durable.  The glasses don’t need extra special care – they can be placed in the dishwasher. It is that easy to elevate your wine enjoyment rather than collect more wine gadgets.

We are doing exactly that! New this year, we’re elevating the tasting experience at our Taste & Buy events in Ottawa and Kingston. All ticketholders who purchase the V.I.T. (Very Important Taster) pass will be provided Riedel ‘Overture’ glassware to enjoy the wine tasting. This is the glass most often used at high end restaurants in town.

With so many different glasses to choose from, giving the gift of Riedel is the beginning of a collection that can be added to with every occasion.  And easily the question of what to give this year’s hard-to-buy-for wine lover just got easier…more Riedel glasses will definitely get a smile – every time. 

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The Rosé Report – July 2019

Posted by Ophelia Bradly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s to summer!

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

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


In this assortment of Rosés, you will find…

Foreign Affair Amarosé 2018

$18.95
Niagara

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

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

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

KIN Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé 2017

$24.95
Ottawa Valley

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

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

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

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

Morandin Estates Cold Creek Rosé 2018

$20
Prince Edward County

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

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

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

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

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

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

Redstone Winery Rosé VQA 2017

$17.15
Niagara

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

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

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

Southbrook Vineyards 2017 Triomphe Cabernet Franc Rosé

$19.75
Niagara-on-the-Lake

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

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

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

Tawse Winery 2017 Spark Rosé

$30.15
Niagara

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

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

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


~ Rosé Recipe Box ~

A Summer BBQ favorite to enjoy with Rosé wines

Crunchy Thai Salad with Peanut Dressing

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

Ingredients

Thai Salad

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

Peanut Dressing

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

Instructions

Thai Salad

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

Peanut Dressing

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

To Serve

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


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

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

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

Price for August’s assortment:

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

Deadline to order this parcel is Sunday Aug 11th.  

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

Cheers & Enjoy your summer!

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The Rosé Report – May 2019

Posted by Ophelia Bradly

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

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

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

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

In the May Bouquet of Rosés, you will find:

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s to summer!

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

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

In this Bouquet of Rosés, you will find…

Huff Estates Rosé VQA 2018

$20
Prince Edward County

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

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

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

Keint-He Portage Rosé VQA 2017

$22
Prince Edward County

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

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

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

Meldville Wines by Derek Barnett Rosé VQA 2018

$20
Niagara

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

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

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

Rosehall Run ‘Just One Rosé’ VQA 2017

$17.95
Prince Edward County

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

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

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

Two Sisters Vineyards Margo Rosé VQA 2017

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

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

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

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

Westcott Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé VQA 2018

$22.95
Twenty Valley (Niagara)

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

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

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

~ Rosé Recipe Box ~

A Spring & Summer favorite to enjoy with Rosé wines

Gorgonzola & Strawberry Canapés

From Food & Drink Magazine
Makes 24 canapés

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

Ingredients

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

Method

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

Have your fridge full of Rosé wines all summer long…

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

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

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

Price for June’s assortment:

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

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

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

Cheers & Enjoy your summer!

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What do Organic Wine Labels mean?

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, August 9th, 2018
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These days, products labelled as “organic, green, gluten free or vegan” are often confusing and have different meanings depending on whether the item is eggs, apples or grapes. Personally, in general terms, I tend to think organic wine is one that has not had pesticides or other chemicals used in its vineyard or winemaking process. If that is indeed the case, I can’t help but wonder if this extra attention results in a difference in taste too.

My curiosity gets the better of me and nose dive into some ‘research’.

The David Suzuki Foundation offers some great explanations of terms that I have interchanged. For example, when the wine label states “made with organically grown grapes”, this means that the wine is made with a minimum of 70% organic grapes.  Turns out this is not the same as certified organic grapes.  The term Certified Organic means that the producers use 100% organic grapes and cannot use toxic pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers that would infiltrate both the soil and the grapes.

Biodynamic wine is defined by renowned winemaker Ann Sperling (of Sperling Vineyards, Southbrook Vineyards and Versado) as, “Uber organic”.  Biodynamic is organic but natural resources are used to cultivate grapes and must meet the standards imposed for organic-certified farming. This kind of wine production also takes into consideration the lunar calendar, astrology, plants, animals, insects;  it’s not just about the grapes.

I admit that I find the idea of the slant of the moon’s light on a vineyard making a difference in grape-growing a little mind-boggling. In order for a winery to declare itself as biodynamic, it must have achieved the highest level of certification through Demeter Canada and maintained it for a minimum of three years. It’s no wonder that there are only a handful of biodynamic wineries across the country.

Wine Country Ontario lists wineries in Ontario that sell organic, vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian and biodynamic wines. All these labels embrace sustainable winemaking or economical farming practices. Whether the wine tastes any different with these labels depends on your opinion.

The recent release at LCBO’s Vintages is promoting several organic wines. I have a couple of recommendations from this release and also suggestions in the general list of organic wines. Many LCBO stores have an organic wine section, so have a look the next time you are in one. You might find something new from this issue to impress your vegan friends!

From the August 4 release. 

 

Murviedro Luna Organic Brut Cava

Spain
$17.95 (Vintages #547224) 11.6% alcohol

Cava in Spain is akin to Prosecco in Italy and it never hurts to have one of these chilling in the fridge. This happens to be a Gold Medal winner at the 2017 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. Whenever I see those gold labels, it’s never a risk to buy the bottle.

Cava is known for its light sparkling citrusy moussey bubbles, made from the Macabeo grapes and is always a delight for brunch, Happy Hour or to kick off a party.

 

 

Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay 2016

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada
$24.95 (Vintages #172338) 12% alcohol

Southbrook Vineyards is known as the first winery in Canada to earn both organic and biodynamic certification in the vineyard. It is also one impressive winery to visit in Niagara. The architecture of this biodynamic winery is different from its neighbors and their elegant wines are always memorable.

During the release tasting, I did not get to sample this 2016, but previous Chardonnays made by Ann Sperling have been knock out delicious.

Enjoy a glass in the sunshine, unwinding while the sun goes down, with fish or chicken off the BBQ or a summertime salad.

 

Montes Alpha Syrah 2015

Colchagua Valley, Chile
$19.95 (Vintages #612) 14.5% alcohol

The label on the bottle of this dark blackberry nectar states “dry farmed”.  What does this mean? Basically the grapes are cultivated without any irrigation in regions where there is little rain. The grapes feed off any residual moisture in the soil which deeply extends their vine roots and consequently their flavour.

I really liked the leathery finish on this wine.  It would be great with any grilled chops.

 

Organic Wines available all year round at the LCBO

 

Lurton Piedra Negra Pinot Grigio Organic

Argentina
$13.80 (Vintages #55674) 12.5% alcohol

This is a “pretty” soft white, dry, medium-bodied white wine. Luscious tropical and citrus flavours present loads of fresh fruit on the palate.

I picked this up on my lookout for general list organic wines at the LCBO (regularly available on the main store shelves) and it has easily become a favourite in my house.

It’s refreshing and delicious on its own or served with fish tacos, sushi, cold pasta salad.

 

 

El Abuelo Organic Tempranillo Monastrell

Almanzo D.O., Spain
$9.95 (Vintages #524520)  14% alcohol

Don’t let the price fool you. This great organic wine from Spain is full-bodied with loads of black fruit flavours.

Bone dry and smooth, it packs lots of punch at 14% alcohol but does not taste hot on the palate.

It goes well with burgers or spaghetti or just to sip in a glass.

 

Travel tip and wine stop in Hockley Valley, Mono, Ontario 

 

My husband and I recently returned from a trip to the Hockley Valley Resort (North of Toronto near Orangeville) and discovered the Adamo Winery Estate. The resort offers a shuttle to the winery, but if you prefer to walk, it’s a short distance but all uphill.

The resort and winery are family owned and operated, clearly taking great pride in both their wines and the upscale resort. Have a look at the pictures online, it is indeed as lovely as it looks.

The farming practices in the 25 acre winery are both organic and biodynamic. Shauna White, Vineyard and Winery Manager, uses thermal blankets in the winter to cover the vines so that they are insulated and protected from ice and snow. This method is done instead of hilling up vines (burying them in the earth), like they do in Prince Edward County.

At the winery, the Paddock Café offers small plates of local cheeses, olives and charcuteries overlooking the 23,000 vines. It is also a wonderful photo-op beside an amazing golf course. We visited the winery 3 times in 3 days to take in the ambience and sample more wines. The Rieslings and Viognier wines were favourites with many grapes being sourced from the Niagara region.

Coincidentally, 6 years ago, I had met Shauna when I interviewed her for our Savvy Selections wine-o-month club featuring Ravine Estate Winery.  Shauna was the winemaker. Needless to say, the surprise to see her again at Adamo was a delight and made for an over the top vacation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Posted by Susan

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

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

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

 

World Class Wines

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

 

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

To get the Canada 150 celebration started, we selected:

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

 

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

 

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

 

Introducing…
Benjamin Bridge

Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

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

 

The Early Years

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

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

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

 

The Unique Terroir

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

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

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

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

The Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

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

 

Méthode Classique Brut Reserve NV, $27.95

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

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

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

Cellaring: Enjoy now and cellar up to 10 years.

 

Tidal Bay 2016, $21.95

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

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

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

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

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

 

Riesling 2015, $30.95

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

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

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

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


 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

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

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

 

With Benjamin Bridge Brut NV…
Roasted Mushroom and Brie Tart

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

Ingredients

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

Method

Preheat oven to 400F.

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

Ingredients

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

Method

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

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

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

 

 

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

Recipe & Photo Credit: Oceanaire.com
Serves 8

Ingredients

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

Method

Heat oven to 400F.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Happy Canada 150!

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Rosé Report: Kacaba’s Rebecca Rosé VQA 2016

Posted by Debbie

Sunday, July 16th, 2017
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To get to the tasting room where this delicious Rosé wine and other wines made by our friends at Kacaba Vineyard, you have to cross what’s known as a Bailey Bridge—a truss bridge invented by the British and first used by tanks to cross the treacherous terrain of battlefields during the Second World War. Ideas of battles disappear when you see the rolling hills of vineyards and the wrap around deck that awaits.

Kacaba Vineyards and Winery ‘Rebecca’ Rosé

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The 2016 Rebecca Rosé is a unique blend of Gamay Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Riesling. It glows with a brilliant raspberry-ruby hue in the glass, while aromas of strawberry jam and spring flowers swirl through your senses. Full bodied, it makes you hungry…and thirsty for a picnic.

 

Complete Wine Deets:
Kacaba Vineyards Rebecca’ Rosé VQA 2016

$18.15
Ontario Wine Region: Twenty Valley (Niagara)

 

Suggested Food Pairing: Croque Monsieur with grainy mustard, or straight-up grilled cheese.  But go gourmet with some creamy Brie or a nutty Gouda.  For something really neat, here is a Whipped Feta, Watermelon & Radish Salad recipe.

 

Feta and watermelon is a winning salty-sweet combo. Be sure to rinse and press your feta before whipping otherwise your feta will liquefy—the finished whipped cheese should have a deli cream-cheese-like consistency.

 

Ingredients

Whipped Feta:

8 oz (250 g) good-quality feta
2 tbsp (30 mL) whipping cream or plain yogurt
4 to 6 tbsp (60 to 90 mL) olive oil

1½ cups (375 mL) daikon radish cut into matchsticks
⅓ cup (80 mL) olive oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
1½ tsp (7 mL) dried oregano
1 tsp (5 mL) coarsely ground black pepper
Salt to taste
3 slices mini seedless watermelon, each 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick, rind removed
1 red cayenne or finger chili, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
Fresh oregano leaves to garnish

 

Directions

Drain feta from brine if necessary and rinse under cool running water. Line a plate with several layers of paper towel, top with feta and weigh down with another plate topped with a can. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Crumble and combine in a food processor with cream and 4 tbsp (60 mL) olive oil; process until smooth. Add up to 2 tbsp (30 mL) oil, if necessary, to achieve a thick spreadable consistency.

Soak daikon in a bowl of ice water while preparing the remaining ingredients. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, dried oregano and pepper. Lightly season with salt (feta is salty). Cut watermelon into irregular 1 to 1½-inch (2.5 to 4-cm) chunks.

Spread an equal amount of feta out in a scant ½-inch-thick (1 cm) layer on six small plates. Divide watermelon between plates. Drain radish and pat dry with paper towels; toss with half the dressing and top watermelon portions with an equal amount of radish. Divide remaining dressing between plates and garnish each with chili and oregano leaves.

Pack in a picnic & enjoy!

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Rosé Report: Legends Pinot Gris

Posted by Debbie

Sunday, July 16th, 2017
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Not labeled as a Rosé, but this white wine has a pink tinge – on purpose!  Pinot Gris grapes are naturally cooper coloured when fully ripened and the winemaker at Legends Estate Winery in Niagara kept the grape skins in contact with the juice after the crush and magically the colouring happened to give it a lovely copper colour in the finished product.  So it looks like a Rosé, but it is a white wine.  Confused?  Trust us…you’ll like it!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  A well balanced wine with aromas of freshly baked bread on the nose, hint of Earl Grey tea & reminders of clotted cream & fresh strawberries. Can you find any of this when you swirl & sip on this dry wine?

We discovered this wine last year and were so excited that there is still more available so we can enjoy it this summer too. Another Savvy discovery!

 

Complete Wine Deets:
Legends Estates Pinot Gris VQA 2015

$17.95
Ontario Wine Region: Niagara-on-the-Lake

 

Suggested Food Pairing: Roasted whole chicken, seafood, fish or try with the Classic Bruschetta recipe that we have included.

 

Classic Bruschetta

Recipe: Yummly
Photo Credits: MyBakingAddiction
Serves 6

Ingredients

Image result for bruschetta

1 loaf crusty bread
5 medium tomatoes (chopped)
4 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (freshly)
1 tablespoon fresh basil
Salt & Pepper

Directions

Allow to stand for several hours to marinate. Slice bread at an angle, brush one side with olive oil, and broil on each side until brown.

Best when served immediately to avoid getting soggy. Ingredients may be adjusted depending on your taste.

Mix diced tomatoes (juice and all), minced garlic, olive oil, lime juice, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (keep the rest for later), basil, and salt and pepper (to taste).

Spoon mixture onto bread, and top with reserved Parmesan. Broil until cheese has melted.  Enjoy!

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Rosé Report: Casa-Dea Sparkling Dea Cuvée

Posted by Debbie

Saturday, July 15th, 2017
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One of the first wineries in Prince Edward County, Casa-Dea Estates Winery is making a big impression with this sparkling rosé wine.  Just released, this bubbly can be enjoyed on any occasion – picnic, Happy Hour, or stash away for Thanksgiving (if you have to!).  For exactly this reason we included it in this month’s Deck Party Pack.

Here is a neat golden nugget to drop into conversation: Winemaker Paul Battilana was originally trained as a butcher, before he made the leap to winemaking after his curiosity transformed his career. And the wine industry is taking note as he was named by MacLean’s Magazine last year ‘as one of the Canadian winemakers to watch’.

 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting notes: Pretty in the glass, it is refreshing, bright, and reminds us of summer…all throughout the year. Light aromas of strawberry and juicy peaches, the acidity of this wine makes is perfect to start any occasion.

 

Complete Wine Deets:
Casa-Dea Estates Winery Dea Cuveé

$21.95
Ontario Wine Region: Prince Edward County

 

Suggested Food Pairings: Chips. Delicious Spiced Sweet Potato Chips. The salt plays with the bubbles of the wine and fireworks start off in your mouth.  Try it!

 

 

Spiced Sweet Potato Chips

Serves 2
Recipe by The Editors of Prevention Magazine
Photo Credit: Mitch Mandel

 

Ingredients

 

1 12-oz sweet potato, peeled
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp sugar
¼ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp salt

 

Directions

Heat oven to 375°F.

Slice potato into very thin slices using v-slicer mandoline. Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Arrange potato slices on the baking sheets in a single layer. Coat slices lightly with cooking spray.

Bake for 7 minutes, or until barely starting to brown. Turn potato slices over and return to the oven. Bake until lightly browned, about 7 to 10 minutes more. Transfer finished slices to a bowl and repeat with remaining slices, if necessary. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cumin, sugar, chili powder, and salt.

Pour spice mixture over chips and toss well before serving.

Enjoy!

 

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Rosé Report: Devil’s Wishbone Pinot Gris Rosé

Posted by Debbie

Friday, July 14th, 2017
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Devil’s Wishbone Winery is the home of this delicious 2016 Pinot Gris Rosé along with many other amazing wines. Look at a map of The County & you’ll see the distinctive wishbone shape where the Bay of Quinte and Adolphus Reach meet at Picton.  The “devil” part of this winery’s name comes from the poor soil quality in the area, where early settlers found it nearly impossible to grow anything. Yet winery owner Paul Gallagher researched that the clay and limestone mixed soil is perfect for growing vines.

original_227656-devils-wishbone-winery-pinot-gris-rose-2015-bottle-1461510859Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A colour that reminded all of our Sommeliers of a Ballerina-tutu (!) with an airy nose of fuzzy peaches, wild strawberries and maple sap. Slightly off-dry and juicy with a pleasant, refreshing summertime quench. Absolutely delicious!

 

Complete Wine Deets:
Devil’s Wishbone Pinot Gris Rosé VQA 2016

$22
Ontario Wine Region: Prince Edward County

 

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine has a hint of sweetness that will sing alongside this mouthwatering Crunchy Thai Salad with Peanut Dressing which will be your new vegetable obsession! Each bite packs a powerhouse of fresh superfoods all in one bowl.

 

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!

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Rosé Report: Good Earth Rosé VQA 2016

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, July 13th, 2017
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You’ll know you’ve found the right place when you see the giant fork standing among the vines at Good Earth Food & Wine Company. And it may not even be big enough, if you want to try everything here….enjoy a meal at the bistro set amongst the vineyard or take part in a hands on cooking class – life is good!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  An interesting petal-soft texture of this wine makes summer sipping even more enjoyable.  The medium to full bodied flavours of fresh sweet red berries, watermelon with a dash of floral and crisp acidity that balances out every sip.

Complete Wine Deets:
Good Earth Food & Wine Company – The Good Wine Rosé VQA 2016

$17.95
Ontario Wine Region: Twenty Valley (Niagara)

 

Suggested Food Pairing:  We’d recommend to serve it with a delicious Asian Chicken Salad with Ginger Sesame Dressing. (recipe follows)

 

Asian Chicken Salad with Ginger Sesame Dressing

From: Yummly
Serves 4

 

Ingredients

Salad dressing

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon powder ginger
1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Salad

6 cups baby spinach leaves, washed, and dried
1 large carrot, shredded
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 of a whole red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds toasted
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken or grilled chicken, sliced

 

Directions

Combine all salad dressing ingredients, except for sesame seeds, and using only 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Whisk until emulsified. Taste your dressing and add another 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, if desired, to make it saltier. Add 2 tablespoons sesame seeds to the dressing and mix them in.

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl, except for 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and chicken. Add the salad dressing to the salad and toss – do not add all salad dressing at once: you might not need all of it. Add just enough salad dressing to coat the salad ingredients.

Serve the salad in the individual serving bowls and top with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and sliced chicken.

Enjoy!

 

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