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Archive for ‘Wine & Food Links’

Clink & Drink Pink! The Rosé Report

Posted by David Loan

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

The dog-days of summer mean vacations, backyard BBQs and hitting the beach to escape cool down. Whatever you’re doing, you’ll find a glass of these refreshing Rosé wines are both refreshing and delightfully surprising.

Our Savvy Sommeliers discovered five wonderful Rosé wines made in Ontario to feature in this month’s Bouquet of Rosés. Mark our words…you’ll love how they pair with everything that defines your summer:bouquet-of-roses

 Aure Wines White Gamay – award-winning Rosé
– Back 10 Cellars “Rose Coloured Glasses” – this is not a whimpy Rosé!
DiProfio Wines Gamay Rosé– Rich and fruity
– Palatine Hills Pinot Gris – easy drinking (maybe TOO easy!)
– Rosehall Run Pixie – a perfect summer sipping sparkling
Trail Estates Winery Pinot Noir Rose
– A gem from The County

Your Bouquet of Rosés is EXTRA special, as none of the wines are available at the LCBO.

If you would like to order additional bottles or other hard-to-find Ontario wines (we do craft beers, too!), contact 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

 

In this Bouquet of Rosés you will find…

~ Tasting notes by Savvy Sommelier, David Loan ~

 

Aure Wines White Gamay VQA 2014Aure Wines White Gamay VQA 2014

$15.95
Beamsville Bench (Niagara)

Did you know? This wine won a Bronze Medal at the 2015 National Wine Awards. Well deserved!

 Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Spicy and savoury, sweet and sour – the descriptors just kept coming as we tasted this. With a peach colour, just tinged with orange, it offers ripe honeydew and rose blossom notes. There’s honey, too, which pairs perfectly with its high acidity. The finish is quite complex, with honey and melon and tangerine.

Suggested Food Pairings: When our Savvy Team got together to sample the wines, Savvy Sommelier Debbie knew just what she wanted with this wine – Prosciutto Wrapped Cantaloupe (very simple recipe follows).

 

Back 10 Cellars ‘Rose Coloured Glasses’ VQA 2015back 10 cellars

$18.95
Beamsville Bench (Niagara)

Did you know? The wine’s fun name was inspired by one of the winery owners’ daughters, who always wears her sunglasses with rose-coloured lenses, “because it makes the world a prettier place”.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Blended from Pinot Noir and Gamay, this wine offers the best of both. It has a spectacular pomegranate juice colour and aromas of sour cherry, smoke, watermelon, and mint. The flavours surprise, with candied red fruit, slate and tobacco. Barely off-dry, with medium acidity, it finishes with red cherry notes that won’t quit.

Suggested Food Pairing: Go ahead and challenge this food with big, bold flavours
such as Buffalo chicken wings or ribs slathered in BBQ sauce; this wine will handle it.

 

 

DiProfio Wines Gamay Rosé VQA 2015Di Profio Wines Gamay Rosé VQA 2015

$14.45
Twenty Valley (Niagara)

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

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

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

 

 

Palatine Hills Pinot Gris VQA 2015Palatine Hills Pinot Gris VQA 2015

$15
Niagara-on-the-Lake

Did you know? Palatine Hills is located on land that was once a battleground during the War of 1812. An historic artifacts display in their tasting room shows some of the relics found in the vineyards, including officers’ buttons, clay pipes and musket balls!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Not labeled as a Rosé, but winemaker Jeff Innes has let the skins of the lightly-purple Pinot Gris grapes bleed into the grape juice giving it a lovely copper colour. This shines with typical Niagara minerality, strawberry and gorgeous pink grapefruit flavours. It reminded us, too, of Juicy Fruit gum. This wine is just off-dry, with a pithy and white pepper finish.

This Pinot Gris is so new that at the time of writing it isn’t even on Palatine Hills’ website yet. You are the first to enjoy it. A true Savvy discovery!

Suggested Food Pairing: This accommodating wine easily accompanies summer dishes ranging from grilled peaches to BBQed Pizza (recipe below).

 

Rosehall Run Pixie VQARosehall Run Pixie VQA

$19.95
Prince Edward County

Did you know? Sparkling wines made by the “Charmat Method” become bubbly through secondary fermentation in a large tank, in contrast to “Champagne Method” where it takes place in the bottle. Either way, bottles are initially capped with beer bottle-like “crown caps”, and more and more winemakers are choosing to leave these easily removed caps in place.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Oh, boy, do we love this wine! Blended from Riesling and Chardonnay, it has just enough Zweigelt (one of owner/winemaker Dan Sullivan’s signature grapes) added to give it a lovely gold hued peach colour. The bubbles are light and fun, and this is gently sweet with some bracing lemon acidity for balance. And the flavours! Rhubarb, peach, strawberry, and lots of lemon on the finish.

 Suggested Food Pairing: We’d love to share this with friends in the backyard over a bowl of  Chilled Cucumber Soup – check out our recipe below.

 

Trail Estates Winery Pinot Noir Rosé VQA 2014

$21.95
Prince Edward County

Did you know? Trail Estate is one of the newer wineries to enter the scene in Prince Edward County, and they have wasted no time making a name for themselves. Hildegard & Anton Sproll had just retired from running Sproll’s Fine German Bakery in Kitchener-Waterloo for 30 years.  Then, as the story goes, on a trip to The County, they fell in love with region.  They never intended to start up another business, but…

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Beautiful pale pink colour. Wild strawberry and an interesting clover flower notes on the nose give only an illusion of sweetness to come. There are hints of cherry vanilla, tangerine, and orange blossom, and a spice one taster thought was cinnamon.

The palate starts slightly sweet vanilla-cherry, with a slight roundness before going to rhubarb and cranberry for a crisp finish. The 6% Gamay adds some nice structure to the 94% Pinot, and the neutral barrel ferment gives that roundness noticed.

Suggested Food Pairings: A very versatile wine that will work with many dishes including summer salads (grilled lettuce), light appetizers, and grilled salmon.

 

 

 

• Rosé Recipe Box •
Summer time favourites enjoy with your Bouquet of Rosés

 

Chilled Buttermilk-Cucumber Soup

Recipe and photo from marthastewart.com
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients Cucmber soup

2 cucumbers (14 ounces or 400 grams total), peeled, halved, and seeded, plus thin cucumber rounds, for serving
2 cups (500 mL) buttermilk
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving

Method

Roughly chop 1 1/2 cucumbers; dice remaining cucumber half.

Place roughly chopped cucumber in a blender with buttermilk and

blend until smooth, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide soup among four bowls and stir in diced cucumber.

Scoop out into bowls and top with cucumber rounds, a drizzle of oil, and more pepper, if desired.

 

Grilled Pizza

Recipe and photo from: Simply Recipes

Serves 4

Following these directions you can make this summer pizza as simple (frozen crust, bottled sauce) or complicated (everything from scratch) as you want.

Ingredientsgrilled pizza

Pizza dough or frozen pizza crust

Olive oil

Standard toppings of tomato sauce, herbs, cheese (fresh buffalo mozzarella is the best!), and maybe some thinly sliced onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, or pepperoni

Some flour or corn meal for dusting the cookie sheet or pizza peel

Method

Make the pizza dough or use prepared pizza dough.

Prepare the grill for high direct heat. Prepare a small bowl with olive oil for greasing the grill grates and for brushing the pizza. Prepare the toppings so they are ready to go on the pizza—tomato sauce, cheese, and anything else you wish.

Shape the pizza dough by flattening it with your hands on a lightly floured surface. Either use your fingers to stretch the dough out, or hold up the edges of the dough with your fingers, letting the dough hang and stretch, while working around the edges of the dough.

Once you’ve stretched the dough, let it sit for 5 minutes and then push out the edges with your fingers again, until you have a nice round shape, about 12-inches in diameter. Do not make a raised rim, it will interfere with the grilling process.

Once the grill is hot (you can hold your hands an inch over the grates for no more than 2 seconds), dip a tightly folded up paper towel in olive oil and use tongs to wipe the grill grates. Then place a pizza dough round on a lightly floured (or you can use cornmeal) rimless cookie sheet (or pizza peel if you have one). Let the dough slide off the cookie sheet onto the hot grill grates. Close the lid of the grill and let cook for 2 minutes.

After 2 minutes, open the grill and check underneath the dough to see if it is getting browned. If it is on one side, but not another, use a spatula or tongs to rotate the dough 90 degrees and cook for another minute. If it is not beginning to brown, cover the grill and continue to cook a minute at a time until the bottom has begun to brown. It should only take a couple minutes if you have a hot grill. The top of the pizza dough will start bubbling up with air pockets.

Once the pizza dough has browned lightly on one side, use your cookie sheet or pizza peel to remove it from the grill. Use a spatula to flip the dough over so that the grilled side is now up. Keep the grill covered so it retains its heat for the next step.

Paint the grilled surface of the pizza with a little olive oil, then cover with 1 ladle of sauce – no more, or you’ll end up with a soggy pizza. Sprinkle on your toppings, ending with Mozarella cheese (if using), and if using meat, put that over the cheese. Remember to go light on the toppings, or your pizza will be heavy and soggy.

Slide the topped pizza back onto the grill. If you are using a gas grill, reduce the heat. If working with a charcoal grill, close the vents on the cover almost all the way. Close the lid and cook for 2-3 minutes more, or until the bottom begins to char and the cheese is bubbly. Pull off the grate with a spatula onto a cutting board or other flat surface and let rest for a couple minutes before cutting into slices.

Slice and serve!

 

Red Curry Lentils

Recipe and photo from Pinch of Yum

Serves 6

Ingredientslentils

1½ cups (300 g) lentils, rinsed and picked over
½ large onion, diced
2 Tablespoons (30 mL) butter
2 Tablespoons (30 mL) red curry paste
½ Tablespoon (4.5 g) garam masala
1 teaspoon (3 g) curry powder
½ teaspoon (1.5 g) turmeric
1 teaspoon (3 g) sugar
1 teaspoon (3 g) minced garlic
1 teaspoon (3 g) minced ginger
a few good shakes of cayenne pepper
1 14 ounce (385 mL) can tomato puree
¼ cup (125 mL) coconut milk or cream
cilantro for garnishing
rice for serving

Method

Cook the lentils according to directions. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes until fragrant and golden. Add all the spices (curry paste, garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne, sugar, garlic, ginger) and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato sauce; stir and simmer until smooth.

Add the lentils and the cream. Stir to combine and simmer for another 15-20 minutes (the longer, the better)!

Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro.

 

Prosciutto Wrapped Melon

Recipe from Savvy Company
Photo credit: Pinterest

Serves 8 (hors d’oeuvres)

Ingredients wrapped melon

One cantaloupe
4 oz (112 g) paper-thin prosciutto

Method

Peel and seed the cantaloupe. Cut it into cubes or wedges.

Wrap each piece of cantaloupe with a slice of prosciutto.

Serve and enjoy the rave reviews!

 

Have your fridge full of Rosés all summer long…bouquet-of-roses

Always have refreshing Rosé wines on hand this summer. To order additional bottles of your new-found favourite Rosés from this assortment OR to receive a Bouquet of Rosés next month call the Savvy Team at 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or order online at www.savvycompany.ca/rose.

The August Bouquet of Rosés will have a completely different selection of hard-to-find wines.

To order the August Bouquet of Rosés, call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or order online www.savvycompany.ca/rose

 Cheers & Enjoy your summer!

Spotlight’s on Top Canadian wines!

Posted by Amanda

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Are you a wine enthusiast?    So many people in Ottawa want to discover fine wines from across Canada & this summer we hosted our first annual All Canadian Taste & Buy wine event, featuring 100% Canadian wines from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec & Nova Scotia.

It was an incredible night with 25 wineries serving 100+ wines – none of which are available at the LCBO. What a way to be introduced to hard-to-find wines from different places & provinces…under the stars with music playing, fine foods to nibble & nosh while you sample amazing wines – many that you have never tasted before.  With each sip, it was a chance to be WOWed & proud of the wines made across our country.

All Canadian Wine event July 16_o

You can still order ANY of the featured wines from us! This is a great way to stock up on new discoveries of Canadian wines & have them shipped directly from the winery – delivered to your home or office.  For a limited time offer you can order ANY assortment of 12 wines from any province & shipping is FREE.

To make it easy for you to receive the best of the best from coast to coast, click here for the top selling wines from each winery.

 

Top Selling Canadian Wines

Sparkling Wines

Casa-Dea Estates Sparkling Rosé

Tawse Estate ‘Spark’ Riesling (dry) VQA 2012

The Grange Sparkling Riesling VQA 2013

 

White Wines

new bunches 2Benjamin Bridge – Nova 7 (white wine with slight bubbles)

Devil’s Wishbone Pinot Gris VQA 2013

Di Profio Wines ‘The Kitchen Zinc’ (white blend) VQA 2013

Hubbs Creek Pinot Gris VQA 2013

Huff Estates Riesling Off Dry VQA 2012

Redstone Winery Viognier VQA 2012

Rosewood Estates Sussreserve Riesling VQA 2013

 

Red Wines

grapes purple NOTLCarone Vignoble BIN 33 2011 (red blend)

Château des Charmes Gamay Noir VQA 2012

Fielding Estates Rock Pile Red (blend) VQA 2012

Kacaba Vineyards Terrace Vineyard Syrah VQA 2011

Keint-He Winery Voyageur Pinot Noir VQA 2012

Lailey Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2012

Lighthall Vineyard Pinot Noir VQA 2010

Palatine Hills Estate Cabernet Merlot VQA 2010

Pondview Estates Cabernet Merlot Reserve VQA 2011

Poplar Grove Merlot VQA 2009

Riverview Cellars Salvatore’s Cab Sauvignon VQA 2011

Southbrook Vineyard Triomphe Cabernet Franc VQA 2012

Sue-Ann Staff Winery Cabernet Merlot VQA 2010

Vineland Estates Pinot Meunier VQA 2011

 

Dessert Wines

Ferme Guy Rivest La Donzelle (fortified strawberry wine with raspberry)

 

Savvy Events

Not to worry if you missed this event, we often organize fun, interactive wine tastings for groups of all sizes. Stay tuned for our next big event in November, shining the spotlight on Ontario wines this time. Send an email to cheers@savvycompany.ca for more information on what we’re doing around town.

Find out more about Canadian Wines

fall vineyard3This weekend, go exploring and discover great Canadian wines. Why not take a road-trip and meander the country roads of Niagara, Prince Edward County or Quebec, where you can get to know the people behind our wonderful wines and find out more about producing award-winning grapes, working with the land and choosing that perfect combination of grape varieties.

Alternatively, sit back and read about the many wineries that participate in our Savvy Selections, Ontario’s largest wine of the month club. We give you family history, background, ambition and good old ‘love of the land’ as well as food pairings, recipes and our Sommeliers’ tips on these boutique wineries around Ontario.

Cheers!
Amanda

 

keep calm

Remember to Keep Calm

& Drink Canadian wines with us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPECIAL OFFER: Travel around the world with this new magazine

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Looking for some great ideas of where to go this summer – or planning on trips for this fall or an escape from the winter?  We have found a new magazine –  Taste & Travel International – that showcases interesting & fun food related ideas to enjoy where ever your next trip takes you. The magazine contributors are foodies who offer tried & true tips from their trips of interesting and everyday places along with ‘must visit’ things to do such as farmers markets, art galleries, wineries and cooking schools (you have to see where they recommend in Tuscany, Andalucía and Vermont!)….and many more delicious ideas to include in your next trip.

Taste & Travel International is an inspiring, high quality print magazine that focuses exclusively on the exciting and delicious world of culinary travel. Taste & Travel has a global scope, delivering 96 gorgeous pages packed with information on the hottest gourmet destinations, epicurean lodgings, cooking schools, culinary cruises, vineyard tours, food markets & trails all over the world, along with restaurants, chefs, recipes & other essential information for the culinary traveler & adventurous home cook.

 

 

 Do we have a deal for you!

We have teamed up with Taste & Travel International  magazine to offer all wine enthusiast a SPECIAL SUBSCRIPTION RATE!  Taste&Travel is available in Chapters stores across Canada. The cover price is $6.95. As a special offer for Savvy Company friends, fans and followers, Taste & Travel is offering a full 1 year subscription at 40% off the newsstand price.

For just $15 including tax and shipping, this fabulous Canadian publication will be delivered to your door.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE NOW! 

Happy Summer…

Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

Season’s Readings – our favorite wine & food books

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

There is a mesmerizing abundance of wine and food books that you can wrap and put under the tree.  Here are some of our Savvy Sommeliers’ favorites:

 

History of Wine Words – An Intoxicating Dictionary of Etymology & Word Histories from Glass & Bottle  
by Charles Hodgson

$20 at Amazon

Charles is an Ottawa based writer and long time Savvy Selections wine-of-the-month club subscriber.  As he was researching the meanings and history of wine terms and words he asked our Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm to be part of the editing team.  This is a neat book loaded with interesting tidbits about the origin of wine words.

 

Cellar Book – How to Design, Build, Stock and Manage Your Wine Cellar Wherever You Live
by Tony Aspler
$20 at Chapters

As Tony puts it, this book provides practical guidance for anyone who wants to lay down wines that will be ready to open for a mid-week dinner, for a spontaneous celebration or for your children’s future enjoyment. 

 

The definitive Guide to Canadian Artisanal and Fine Cheese
by Gurth Pretty

$20 at Chapters

Chef Gurth Pretty has compiled the most comprehensive guide to Canadian cheeses ever published. On each page you are introduced to the cheesemakers, stories about their cheeses, and then there are 30 delicious recipes developed by Gurth and the cheesemakers to try your hand at. This book is always open in the kitchen of our Savvy Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons

 

Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass

By Natalie MacLean

$10 at Chapters

“Simply intoxicating!”, says Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm. Debbie has read this book twice – the first time was the manuscript as she devoured & reviewed each page for Natalie, then again once the book was published. There are countless wine books, some historic, some novels, some technical and some instructional. Yet, in Red, White & Drunk All Over, Natalie MacLean shares her discovery and experiences of the different facets of wine with an enlightening twist.  Look for Debbie’s quote on page 122!

 

The 500 Best-Value Wines in the LCBO 2010
by Rod Philips
$19.95 at Chapters

This is the second annual guide to the 500 best-values in the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario). Rod Philips – Ottawa based writer, wine judge & Ottawa Citizen wine columnist has tasted all the wines currently available in the LCBO and Vintages Essentials collection – a rough job!  He chose the 500 best wines in terms of their quality and price. A handy book to have with you when are overwhelmed with all that is available at the LCBO.

 

Wine and War: The French, The Nazis, And The Battle For Frances Greatest Treasure

By Don and Petie Kladstrup

$19 at Chapters

“This is a page turner – I was captivated in chapter 1.  A great read for anyone interested in history and wine”, remarks Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm. All about the remarkable untold story of France’s courageous, clever vinters who protected and rescued the country’s most treasured commodity from German plunder during World War II. In 1940, France fell to the Nazis and almost immediately the German army began a campaign of pillaging one of the assets the French hold most dear: their wine.

 

Anna and Michael Olson Cook at Home: Recipes for Everyday and Every Occasion

By Anna and Michael Olson

$25 at Amazon

A favorite cookbook in Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardin’s kitchen. When writing the Savvy eZine, Susan often refers to this book to pick a recipe to pair a Savvy Selections wine. She finds that this book is full of practical and humorous advice on cooking and entertaining, with culinary inspirations and handy techniques by Ontario’s premier chefs. 

 

Matter of Taste: Inspired Seasonal Menus with Wines and Spirits to Match
By Lucie Waverman & James Chatto
$35 at Chapters

Savvy Sommeliers Debbie Trenholm & Susan Desjardins are fans of this book full of recipes and wine pairings. Several of their favorite recipes have been paired with Savvy Selections wines.  Easy-to-follow recipes are paired with James’ witty wine knowledge and explanations on why the matches make sense.

 

Fresh Canadian Bistro: Top Canadian chefs share their favourite recipes

By Craig Flinn

$18 at Chapters

Author Craig Flinn, chef of Chives Canadian Bistro in Halifax, has persuaded many of Canada”s leading chefs to share some of their best recipes for this collection. “I have just bought it and each page is absolutely delicious!” comments Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm

 

 

Other helpful Gift Guides that may inspire some ideas for your wine & food lovers on your shopping list.

Ottawa Citizen 2009 Holiday Gift Guide

Globe and Mail Gift Guide

Ron Eade’s annual Cookbook Guide

 

Happy Holidays!

The Savvy Team

 

 

 

On the road again…to Niagara!

Posted by Susan

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

A recent week-long trip to the Niagara area offered not only great golfing weather, but an opportunity to take in Wainfleet’s Marshville Heritage Festival before visiting a few of my favorite wineries,  all of which will be featured in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club over the next few months.

The Marshville Heritage Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.  Organized entirely by volunteers, the Festival celebrates the 1829 founding of a small Ontario village associated with the construction of the first Welland Canal.  The volunteer society has restored 17 buildings, including a one and one-half story limestone house built in 1790, a sawmill built in 1891 (at the Festival, it was being run by the 70-year-old grandsons of the founder – how neat is that!?), an outdoor oven (where women in period dress were baking fabulous cornbread), and a cabinet-maker’s shop which once belonged to J.W. Overholt, a prominent abolitionist who sheltered escaped slaves.  A wide range of artisans and food vendors vied for space with the historical buildings.  The Festival is the Society’s primary fundraiser and is a great educational and entertainment event for all ages.  If you’re in the Niagara area in early September next year, don’t miss it this festival.

After an enjoyable couple of days at the Festival and on the golf links, I got down to the serious business of wine tasting!  My first stop was Reif Estate Winery, where I met with Klaus Reif, President and Oenologist, and Andrea Kaiser, who is responsible for the winery’s retail operations and promotion.  We had a great chat about Klaus’ early years, the evolution of the winery, as well as some the new challenges he has set himself.  This includes the innovative use of tobacco kilns for creating temperature-controlled environments to dry grapes for passito-style wines and to produce botrytis-affected grapes for Sauternes-style wines.  Reif Estate has some great wines, including some outstanding Bordeaux-style blends.  More to follow in the Savvy Selections  this November.  Consider subscribing for an opportunity to try some of the hard to find Reif wines along with the recipes we recommend! 

For those of you who know me, I am a strong proponent of organic wines, so my trip included a visit at Frogpond Farm  and Southbrook Vineyards, both of which will be featured in spring issues of the Savvy Selections. 

Frogpond Farm is the original certified organic winery in Niagara.  Jens and Heike are excited about their expansion onto a new certified organic acreage in the peninsula, and are now producing wines in 750 ml bottles as well as their traditional 500 ml format.  We tasted a range of wines, including the 2006 Cabernet Franc from their original property and the 2007 Cabernet Franc from the new property.  This side-by-side tasting was a great opportunity to compare the significant differences terroir and vintage can make to a wine.  While the 2006 is brawny and robust, the 2007 is more fruity and delicate.  We laughingly decided that the former was more ‘masculine’, while the latter, more ‘feminine’!

I spent time with Elena Galey-Pride, Director of Customer Experience at Southbrook Vineyards, learning about their transition to biodynamic and organic viticulture and viniculture.  To quote their winemaker, Anne Sperling, “Biodynamics is like extreme organics!”  In effect, biodynamic producers have a profound respect for the influence of nature on their crops and products, and work to optimize, preserve and recycle the resources of their farmed land.  The biodynamic processes on site continue to evolve, with a decision made to establish their own herd of sheep next year, and the use of natural fermentation in winemaking.  Southbrook’s first biodynamic release was their Cabernet Franc Rose this summer – we sipped from one of the few remaining bottles.  In October, the winery will release their second biodynamic wine, the 2008 Triomphe Merlot, which offers strong fruity flavors with a great balance of acidity and tannins. 

Pillitteri Estates Winery was our last stop of the day, where we participated in a wonderfully informative tour of the winery, then tasted a wide range of their still and sweet wines.  The Pillitteri family story seems like a Canadian fairy tale.  Gary Pillitteri came to Canada in 1948, when his grandfather purchased their original 56-acre fruit farm off Niagara Stone Road.  A series of photos show the evolution of the farm from orchard to vineyard, and of the retail building from fruit stand to combined tasting room, retail shop and fruit stand.  When Gary won his first award as an amateur winemaker for his Vidal ice wine, a family decision was made to move beyond grape growing into winemaking.  Pillitteri Estates Winery has expanded to 100 acres and is a family affair involving Gary, his wife, their three children and the five grandchildren.  Fifty-five or more percent of their production is sweet wines, for which they have won numerous prestigious awards, including a recent gold for their Shiraz Ice Wine at the Syrah du Monde competition.  Yet, with all this success, staff at the winery speak with great affection about the work environment the family has created.  Said one individual, “Mrs. P (Pillitteri) often comes in and makes pizza for everyone on the weekend.  And the family usually gathers in the winery at the end of the day to share dinner.”  Not only does Mrs. P make pizza, as I noticed when we were in the tasting room, she also comes by and helps the staff wash tasting glasses! 

We toured Pillitteri’s barrel cellar, which is one of the largest in the Niagara at 6000 square feet.  In the barrel cellar, Gary Pillitteri has created a fascinating homage to his success in Canada.  He firmly believes that 23 is his lucky number.  He arrived in Canada on that date, and his wife and two of his children were born on that date.  The 42-foot-long single-pour concrete table in the cellar is surrounded by 23 chairs made from a single steel fermentation tank.  The table has 5 supporting legs (2+3) and 23 lights hand above it.  23 steps lead from the barrel cellar to the tasting room. 

After the extensive tour, we were thirsty, so up those stairs we went!!  We sampled the toasty 2007 Sur Lie Chardonnay, the aromatic 2008 Gewurztraminer/Riesling blend, and the Bottled Blond Bradshaw Reserve – Dr. Marc  Bradshaw, Pillitteri’s young winemaker from SouthAfrica, dyes his hair, hence the name!  Among the reds, we sampled both the 2007 Merlot and the 2002 Merlot, each reflecting its unique vintage and winemaker.  And the 2007 Cabernet Franc was a great hit, full-bodied and well balanced with a lingering finish.  One of my favorite sweet wines is Pillitteri’s Select Late Harvest Chambourcin, produced from a hybrid varietal – it has a beautiful balance of tart red fruit, rhubarb and honey.  The grand finale was a taste of the 2007 Sticky Beak Ice Wine, which includes a blend of the Cabernets, Sangiovese and Shiraz – the perfect ending to a beautiful experience.  Pillitteri Estates Wines has been a Savvy Selections feature in past years, and we look forward to showcasing their wines again soon. 

Our thirst sated, we were hungry!  On a recommendation, we headed to Olson Foods at Ravine.  This is the new home of Anna and Michael Olson’s gourmet bakery and deli, located in St. David’s adjacent to Ravine Vineyards.  Opened in the summer of 2008, the single-story rustic building looks like an old farmhouse with an inviting veranda surrounding it. The scarred wooden tables and mismatched chairs make the interior feel like you’re stepping into your grandmother’s kitchen.  Anna was welcoming guests and helping out at the cash, where she willingly signed copies of her recipe books.  The food was great  – sharing plates or modest main plates were freshly made with local ingredients, and very reasonably priced.  A wide range of fresh breads and pastries tempted us to stay for a lingering cup of tea.  And the wide range of condiments, oils, vinegars and kitchen necessities beckoned from the well-planned displays.  This is a must-visit spot whether or not you are visiting wineries!  

If you can’t make it to Niagara but are tempted by some of the great wines I’ve mentioned, contact me to order a selection of wines from Reif Estate Winery,  Frogpond Farm, Southbrook Vineyards or Pillitteri Estates – or any other winery featured in our Savvy Selections .   

Cheers!

Susan

PS – when you are heading to Niagara, contact me for the Savvy ‘must visit’ list of wineries and restaurants.  With over 90 wineries in the area, it can be difficult to figure out where to visit.  The Savvy team of Sommeliers have visited them all and offer you our insight to make your Niagara wine adventure memorable.

Savvy Friends & Links

Posted by Debbie

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Not only do our Savvy Sommeliers give you tips on good wines….count on us for tips on good web sites, blogs, authors and widgets that we find helpful in all things involving wine and food.

 

Award winning Wine & Food Writers…

Natalie MacLean – author of Red, White & Drunk all Over
Be sure to download her Food & Wine pairing matcher widget for your Blackberry or iPhone. Very useful…and fun too!
www.nataliemaclean.com

Tony Aspler – the Wine Guy
Reading all of the content on his web site, one wonders if Tony ever sleeps?  His ever popular ‘Wine Lovers Diary’ gives you insight to life as an acclaimed wine critic & wine writer. Tony makes it all look too easy!
www.tonyaspler.com

Vic Harradine – author of Wine Current
Vic always has a pen & pad in one hand with a glass of wine in the other.  He reviews every wines at LCBO & Vintages
www.winecurrent.com

Ron Eade – Omnivore Ottawa Blog
Ron has a pulse on Ottawa’s food scene.  His blog is one of the top sites read on the Ottawa Citizen online – make it your resource to what is going on in Ottawa.
www.roneade.com

Rod Philips – author of The 500 Best value wines at the LCBO 2009
Rod’s monthly newsletter – Worlds of Wine give you insight on wine industry issues, news on wineries and winemakers dotted with wine tips.
www.rodphillipsonwine.com

 

There’s wine in your mailbox…

VINES Magazine
Editor Christopher Waters & team of wine writers constantly taste and review wines.  In addition to their articles about all things wines, the Buyers Guides help you to create a (long) shopping list of wines to try.
www.vinesmag.com

 

Wine Access Magazine
Each month, this magazine takes you on wine soaked journeys across Canada and to every corner of the wine world to meet winemakers, chefs & wine industry personalities.
www.wineaccess.ca

 

Chefs & their talents…

Mary G’s Artisan Breads
It is easy for Jim to make you fall in love with homemade bread all over again! His trick: it is all in the equipment – his traditional woodfired brick ovens.  His seminars will convert you!
www.marygbread.com

Chop Chop Catering
Call on Ken to be your personal chef or to offer fun cooking classes in your home.
www.chopchop.ca

 

Savvy places to shop…

CA Paradis
Drop by the store and ask for Diane Paradis to provide you insight on buying Riedel wine glasses and stylish decanters…or to simply ooh and ahhh over her wine cellars & fridges.  
TIP: bring your knives and they will sharpen them while you shop for wine accessories
www.caparadis.com 

Wine Cellar Solutions
To buy a wine fridge? Or to build a wine cellar?  This big decision is easy when you call on Louis Titley to take you through your options or bring his team of professionals in to build a custom walk in wine cellar for your home.
www.winecellarsolutions.ca

 

Wine shows to add into your calendar…

Ottawa Wine & Food Show
THE wine show in Ottawa – don’t miss it!  Our team of Savvy Sommeliers organize the details of the wine competition – Cellars of the World – associated with the show.  We will see you there!
www.ottawawineandfoodshow.com

Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival
The wine world comes to this event each year…and so does Savvy Company! There are seminars, tastings, lunches, dinners and a tasting room of 200+ wineries from every corner of the world.  Call on our Savvy Sommeliers to help you determine what to do at this festival.
www.playhousewinefest.com 

 

Wine clubs that the Savvy Team are members!

iYellow Wine Club of Toronto
The iYellow Wine Club is a free social wine club based in Toronto with exciting wine events, wine tours and monthly newsletters.
www.iyellowwineclub.com

National Capital Sommelier Guild
Established for over 20 years, this member-run organisation located in Ottawa has numerous wine events for those serious about wines.  After each of the Savvy Sommeliers graduated, we joined this club to help keep a pulse on the latest releases of wines and to network with other Sommeliers and those in the hospitality industry.
www.sommelierguild.com

 

We will continue to compile this list of Savvy Friends & useful links.  Bookmark this page…and share your tips too!

Cheers,

-Debbie
Follow me on www.twitter.com/savvydebbie