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Archive for ‘Savvy Sommeliers wine tips’

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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Rosé Report: Huff Estates Rosé

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017
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This is one of Huff Estates’ signature and most popular wines. Rosé and wine lovers clamor for it every year – Savvy Team included!  Made with 100% Cabernet Franc grapes grown in The County, 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.

Sommeliers Tasting Notes: This refreshing wine is bone dry with a light pink hue that resembles classic Rosé wines from Tavel, France.  Two words: Pink Grapefruit.  Added to that, light floral notes with more citrus (think lime or mandarin) to create a well-crafted refreshing balance.

Now that you’ve been tipped off about this wine, you’ll be on the lookout for it each year.

 

Complete Wine Deets:
Huff Estates Rosé VQA 2016

$19
Ontario Wine Region: Prince Edward County

 

Food Pairing suggestions: Serve chilled on its own to unwind, with sushi or pack for a picnic.  Below we have included the Lemon Orzo with Baby Spinach and Feta recipe to make for your next picnic.

 

Lemon Orzo with Baby Spinach & Feta

Recipe & Photo credits: Trish Magwood
Serves 6

Ingredients

2 cup dried orzo (500 mL)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil (50 mL)
3 onions, sliced 6 clove garlic, minced
2 cup sliced green onions (500 mL) 2 cup feta cheese, diced or cubed (500 mL)
2 cup baby spinach (500 mL)
½ cup olive oil (125 mL)
Zest of 4 lemons
Juice of 1 lemon
½ tsp salt (2 mL)
¼ tsp pepper (1mL)

 

Directions

Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Reserve.

Heat a large heavy bottomed, wide-surfaced sauté pan, until very hot.

Reduce heat to medium-high. Add vegetable oil and sliced onions. Cook onions on high for about 10 minutes, adding up to 1 tablespoon more oil if pan
becomes dry. Reduce heat to medium-low, add garlic and continue to cook for another 20 minutes until golden.

In a large bowl, combine reserved orzo with green onions, feta cheese, baby spinach, mint, olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice. Toss to mix. Add
caramelized onion and garlic mixture.

Season with salt and pepper.

Can be made 2 days in advance. Keep refrigerated until serving.

Enjoy!

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Rosé Report: Casa-Dea Cabernet Franc Rosé 2016

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017
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Care for a round of bocce? If you’re travelling to The County (aka Prince Edward County that is) this summer, stop by Casa-Dea Estates Winery and try your hand at Bocce – an Italian version of lawn bowling – on the pitch right beside Casa-Dea’s vineyards. The game is made even better with a chilled glass of Rosé playing along side with Casa-Dea’s cool winemaker Paul Battilana.  He has a competitive streak!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Brilliant clarity in this pinky-peach concoction. Abundant aromas of wildflowers and strawberries, juicy peaches, even a floral whiff that might remind you of the delicate flower of Lily of the Valley.  Top it all off with subtle hints of fresh herbs with a silky texture balanced out with measured acidity and a lengthy finish. Mama Mia – it is good!

 

Complete Wine Deets:

Casa-Dea Estates Winery Cabernet Franc Rosé VQA 2016

$18.95
Ontario Wine Region: Prince Edward County

Suggested Food Pairing: Try with yummy BBQ Pork Burgers – recipe below.

 

 

 

BBQ Pork Burgers

Serves 4
Recipe by David Leite -adapted from Gourmet- Gourmet Weekday
Photo credit:  Romulo Yanes

 

Ingredients

For the slaw:

1/4 cup store bought or homemade mayonnaise
1 tablespoon milk
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
1/2 cup very finely shredded carrot
1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives or scallions
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

For the pork burgers:

1/2 cup your favourite store-bought or homemade BBQ sauce (tomato-based)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, for the grill rack
4 buns or Kaiser rolls or soft squishy breadstuff of some sort, split and toasted or grilled

 

Directions

Make the slaw:

In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, milk, and vinegar until smooth. Toss in the cabbage, carrot, chives, and salt and pepper to taste and gently mix to coat. Let the slaw stand at room temperature, uncovered, while you cook the burgers or, if you prefer your slaw crisp, cover it and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

 

Make the BBQed pork burgers:

Prepare your grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal or medium heat for gas.

In a small bowl, stir together the barbecue sauce, cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and vinegar.

In a large bowl, gently mix together the pork, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce mixture until combined. Do not over mix. Using your hands, gently form the mixture into 4 patties, each about 4 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch thick, being careful not to pack the pork too tightly.

Carefully slick the grill rack with oil, plop the burgers on top, and grill them, flipping the burgers every few minutes, just until cooked through and no trace of pink remains, 6 to 10 minutes total. Then brush the top of each patty with 1 tablespoon remaining barbecue sauce mixture (or more if you like things mess), flip the burgers again, and grill for 30 seconds. Repeat, so that both sides have been slathered with the barbecue sauce mixture. Brush the cut sides of each of the buns with the remaining barbecue sauce mixture.

Assemble the BBQed pork burgers, starting with the buns and the burgers and adding a heaping spoonful of coleslaw atop each one. Don’t forget to grab a lot of napkins.

Enjoy!

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They are ba-a-a-a-ack! Prince Edward County is coming….

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017
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Have you heard? Prince Edward County is coming to Ottawa! For the 6th year in a row we bring you County in the Capital. At this year’s Taste & Buy event, we are adding artisanal spirits along with hard-to-find wines, craft beers & ciders. And there will be cheese & gourmet goodies too.

 

Sip, stock up & get travel tips!

County in the Capital is your chance to get a true taste of The County. Meet the makers, order your favorite bevvies & buy neat treats onsite. Plus get the ‘inside scoop’ on places to visit from Prince Edward County Tourism & those who live there.

Buy a ticket + bring a friend for FREE
until March 31st

 

Returning favorites…

401 Cider Brewery * Barley Days Brewery * Casa-Dea Estates Winery * Clafeld Fruit Winery & Cider House * County Cider Company * Devils Wishbone Winery * Half Moon Bay Winery * Huff Estates Winery * Karlo Estates Winery * Keint-He Winery * Lighthall Vineyards & Dairy * Stanners Vineyard * The Grange * Trail Estate Winery * Traynor Family Vineyard * Waupoos Estates Winery

New this year…

Del-Gatto Estates Winery * Kinsip House of Fine Spirits (formerly 66 Gilead) * Lacey Estates * The Grange of Prince Edward and we are working on more!

 

Make it EXTRA special

Become a V.I.T. – a Very Important Taster. With so many bevvies to try, for an additional $25 you can upgrade your ticket & get a V.I.T. Pass.

You’ll enjoy red carpet treatment & advance access from 5 to 7pm, then stay as long as you like for the main event.

Round up your friends & get your tickets >>
This event always sells out…

 

Event Deets

DATE: Thursday, April 20
COOL NEW VENUE! Horticulture Building (in the Lansdowne Complex near TD Place)
V.I.T. RECEPTION: 5 to 7pm – V.I.T. Passes required
MAIN TASTING EVENT: 7 to 9pm

 

ADVANCE TICKETS ONLY

$80 per person + bring a friend for FREE – only until March 31
A group of 4 for $150
Prices include absolutely everything – all samples, a Savvy tasting glass & good ol’ HST

 

Get a taste of The County

Oh my! There will be so much to try…and buy. Wines of all kinds – sparkling, white, rose, red, even port. Craft beers & ciders too. Small batch gin, rye, rum, whisky….

One thing is for certain: EVERYTHING showcased at County in the Capital is extra special, hard-to-find & not available at the LCBO.

 

Order your faves…shipping is FREE

At this Taste & Buy event, order 6, 12 or more bottles of ANY combo of your favorite bevvies & we’ll hand deliver to your home or office – absolutely FREE.

 

Can’t make it but want to order?

Call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) to place your order
& take advantage of FREE shipping – to major cities in Ontario.

See you at County in the Capital,
– Debbie and the Savvy Team

PS – Calling all sparkling wine fans! Join us for a neat night out at the Museum of Nature tasting of bubblies from around the world with led by a geologist expert & me as your Sommelier. We are popping corks on Thursday, March 16 – a few tickets left >>

 

Savvy Company
613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)
cheers@savvycompany.ca
www.savvycompany.ca

Keep in touch with us…
@SavvyDebbie
@SavvyCompany
@SavvyWines
@SavvyHipHops
@SavvyCoolCurds
#CountyintheCapital
www.facebook.com/SavvyCompany
instagram.com/savvycompanyinc

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Less than 80 tickets left! Got yours?

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017
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It is happening next week – Prince Edward County is coming to Ottawa! Over 150 bottles of hard-to-find wines, craft beers, ciders & artisanal spirits will be open for you to taste…and buy. None of these gems are at the LCBO.

County in the Capital is a discovery & tasting experience like no other. You’ll sip & savour new bevvies, meet the makers…then order your favorites to be delivered to your doorstep. It’s the SAVVY way to shop.

Promo Held Over!
Buy a ticket + get one for FREE

Great for a date night  OR  round up a bunch of friends.
You don’t want to miss having all of Prince Edward County under one roof

Look who is coming…

401 Cider Brewery * Barley Days Brewery * Casa-Dea Estates Winery * Clafeld Fruit Winery & Cider House * County Cider Company * Devils Wishbone Winery * Half Moon Bay Winery * Huff Estates Winery * Karlo Estates Winery * Keint-He Winery & Vineyards * Kinsip House of Fine Spirits (formerly 66 Gilead) * Lacey Estates * Lighthall Vineyards * Stanners Vineyard * The Grange * Trail Estates Winery * Traynor Family Vineyard * Waupoos Estates

 

Click here for a list of everything you can Try & Buy >>
TIP: You won’t find ANY of these bevvies at the LCBO

 

Gourmet Goodies too!

Discover got-to-have products & artisan creations by: Abeego * Emerson Pringle Carpentry * Fifth Town Artisan Cheese * La Fromagerie les Folies Bergeres * Lighthall Dairy * Prince Edward County Hot Sauce

 

Travel tips

And to top it all off, County in the Capital is your chance to get the ‘inside scoop’ on top things to do & places to visit from Prince Edward County Tourism.

 

Event Deets

DATE: Thursday, April 20
COOL VENUE! Horticulture Building (in the Lansdowne Complex near TD Place)
V.I.T. RECEPTION: 5 to 7pm – V.I.T. Passes required
MAIN TASTING EVENT: 7 to 9pm

ADVANCE TICKETS ONLY
$80 per person + bring a friend for FREE
A group of 4 for $150

Prices include absolutely everything – all samples, a Savvy tasting glass & good ol’ HST

 

Be a V.I.T.

A Very Important Taster! For an additional $25 upgrade your ticket & get a V.I.T. Pass to enjoy red carpet treatment & advance access from 5 to 7pm, then stay as long as you like for the main event.

Click to get your tickets >>
This event will sell out soon…

Order your favorites! Shipping is FREE.

EVERYTHING featured at County in the Capital is not at the LCBO.

It is easy & hassle free to order – exactly like ordering from Amazon or an online store. Create your order as you taste the bevvies at the event or order online afterwards. Order 6 or more bottles of ANY combo of your favorite bevvies & we’ll deliver to your home or office – FREE.

 

Can’t make it but want to order?

Call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) to place your order & get FREE shipping. Deadline for all orders: April 23 @ midnight.

Next Event: A concert like NO other!

We are excited to announce our involvement in bringing one of Canada’s finest musicians – Chantal Kreviazuk – to Ottawa for a special concert on Friday May 26.

Sponsored by Deloitte, this new event is part of the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend & Ottawa 2017.

Only 300 tickets for this VIP concert featuring a world renown Canadian artist that includes canapes & Canadian wine all night long. After the show, Chantal will open the floor for an interactive chat about performing on the world stage.

To top it all off, you’ll be in the company of former Governor General Michaelle Jean & her husband Jean-Daniel Lafond.

Get your tickets to this one-of-a-kind concert >>

 

Always great things going on at Savvy Company!
– Debbie & the Savvy Team

Savvy Company
613-SAVVYCO
 (728-8926)
cheers@savvycompany.ca
www.savvycompany.ca

Keep in touch with us…
@SavvyDebbie
@SavvyCompany
@SavvyWines
@SavvyHipHops
@SavvyCoolCurds
#CountyintheCapital
www.facebook.com/SavvyCompany
instagram.com/savvycompanyinc

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