An Ontario wine company with a baseball connnection…

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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Diamond Estates
– September 2012 –

 

What an absolutely incredible summer we have had.  It’s hard to believe that it is September already!  In wine regions, September marks the ramping up to the busiest time of year – the grape harvest. This year, Ontario wineries reported that the grapes ripened literally overnight! Usually winemakers spend September patiently monitoring the brix levels (natural sweetness levels) of the grapes, watching the weather reports & waiting for the optimal time to harvest. Usually, they have until end of September to ready their equipment and staff … but not this year!  Some wineries in Niagara began harvest in mid August! Cattail Creek Winery (Savvy Selections featured winery in September 2010) sent the pickers into the vineyards on August 23 – the earliest since 1971!

By all accounts, winemakers across Canada report that the 2012 vintage looks like it is shaping up to be another outstanding vintage like the notable 2007 & 2010 vintages. Our Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath met up with Jason Roller – one of three winemakers at Diamond Estates. Never heard of Diamond Estates? Chances are you have had a bottle of their wine on your table from one of the many wineries in this unique company that comprises of many Canadian wineries & is an agent for numerous wineries around the globe. Read on in this month’s Savvy eZine to discover more about Diamond Estates, their portfolio of wines and how a baseball connection plays into the company name!

With a case of different wines from their various wineries, one summer evening, I rounded up the Savvy Team and some Savvy Selections subscribers to swirl, sip, savour and select the wines for you to enjoy.  After a grueling evening of wine tasting (yes, it can be hard work), we look forward to introducing you to wines from not one but TWO Niagara wineries from Diamond Estates portfolio.

In your Savvy Selections,You will find:

Lakeview Cellars Kerner Reserve 2009 VQA – an easy drinking end of summer sipping wine

Lakeview Cellars Syrah Reserve 2007 VQA – delectable, rich and simply awesome! There are only a few bottles left if you want more bottles, be sure to call me quickly!

East Dell Estates Reserve Cabernet Franc 2007 VQA – stunning!

And since great wines deserve great food, Derek shares these recipes to serve with these delicious wines.

Stock up on these wines!

We were amazed at the prices & quality of these wines.  Ordering additional bottles of this month’s selection or past Savvy Selections is super easy.  Simply drop me an e-mail at debbie@savvycompany.ca or give me a call at 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926)

Cheers & Enjoy!


Debbie & Savvy Team



The Diamond winemaking team (l to r): Scott McGregor, Tom Green & Jason Roller

Introducing…
Diamond Estates

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath

 

I always look forward to the months in which Debbie asks me to “take the lead” and organize the Savvy Selections.  It starts from the moment the wine is delivered to me.  It’s like Christmas as I rush to open the case to see what treasures the Savvy Team will “have to” work its way through.  The tasting panel is always a fun experience but the greatest thrill for me is talking to the winery owners, the winemakers and their staff.  I learn so much about the people behind the wines that we feature in the Savvy Selections.

This month I had the opportunity to meet Jason Roller and Chevonn Cook at Diamond Estates.  Jason has been working at Diamond since 2001 where he apprenticed and completed a co-op placement while studying at Brock University`s Cool Climate Oenology & Viticulture program – while a big title, it boils down to Winemakers School at Brock University.

“Chevy” as the guys like to call her is one of Diamond’s “Group of Seven” members.  In this case, referring to the fact that she is one of seven original employees.  She has definitely seen the company grow!

Chevy and I traded numerous e-mails before we were able to agree on a time that we could actually talk over the phone.  When we did finally connect, Chevonn happily reported that “this is our first day of harvest and as we speak we are processing today Auxerrois, Muscat & Baco Noir grapes that will be used in the following brands: Lakeview, 20 BEES, FRESH, Seasons”.

Batter…Batter… Swing Batter!

Diamond is another Ontario wine industry success story.  The company was founded in 2000 by Murray Marshall and Andrew Green.  The two men had known each other for years through baseball.  You see Murray was a scout for the Toronto Blue Jays and had been a long time baseball coach of Andrew Green.  The name Diamond comes from the baseball diamond and the two friends love and involvement with the sport.

Diamond Estates is the second largest Canadian supplier of VQA wines to the LCBO.  When you stroll down the Ontario Wine section at any LCBO I guarantee that you will come across one of the nine brands that Diamond Estates produces.  These popular brands include: 20 Bees, Hat Trick NHL Alumni Wines, Lakeview Cellars, EastDell Estates, Sundance Wines, Dan Aykroyd Wines, De Sousa Wine Cellars.

When you are next in Niagara, you can stop into the Diamond Estates wine boutique located on Niagara Stone Road en route to the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake & sample any of the wines from all of these wineries.  There is no other place like it in Niagara!

Diamond Estates’ portfolio also includes international brands that you may recognize: Emiliana from Chile,  Andre and Francois Lurton, Rodet from France, Casa Girelli from Italy, Anciano from Spain, Long Flat, Kilikanoon and Angus The Bull from Australia…and the list of international wine brands continues to grow!

We’re big … yet we’re small!

Jason coined it best when he told me: “although we are a very large winery we have a small winery mentality.  By that I mean that we are able to spend more time with our wines making sure that it is the very best we can produce.  Our equipment is a huge help.  We have a state of the art facility with an enormous capacity.  During harvest season what would take most wineries to process in 7 days we can process in 2.  We can then spend the other 5 days making sure that the product is perfect”.  When you taste this month’s wine I think you will agree with Jason.

Once Every Ten Years

Most winemakers will tell you that the 2007 vintage for Ontario wines was a vintage that happens once every 10 years.  This month you have two wines from this vintage. May I suggest that you take this opportunity and order a few extra bottles for your cellar?  These are great wines at a phenomenal prices.

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

Lakeview Cellars Kerner Reserve 2009 VQA, $14.95

Kerner is a German grape variety that produces wines which are similar in nature to its more famous countryman…Riesling.  Kerner wines are relatively uncommon in Canada however as Jason and Chevonn explained to me Diamond Estates has been crafting wines from the Kerner varietal since 1996.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  A pale lemon colour with aromas of citrus, pear and honey-do melon accompanied with slight floral undertones (can you find lilac?).  The wine coats your palate with flavours of white grapefruit, sweet apple, key lime and white pepper.  The mouth feel is rich and fleshy with a medium length green apple finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  This fresh and versatile wine would go well with a citrus salad or chicken breast with a mango chutney.  The tasting panel is recommending pairing this wine with Lime & oney Glazed Salmon with Warm Black Bean and Corn Salad.

Cellaring: This is an excellent sipping wine that could be enjoyed now or it could be cellared for up to 18 months.

Lakeview Cellars Syrah Reserve 2007 VQA, $19.95 (regular $29.95)

This wine has all of the hallmarks of a wonderfully crafted wine: the fruit was sourced from a single vineyard; the skins were left in contact with the juice for an extended period of time thus imparting the beautiful ruby red colour and to top it all off it was aged in American oak barrels for 3 years before being released.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Medium ruby red core that fades to a light garnet.  Dark cherry, cocoa, raisins, stewed prunes and hint of menthol all leap from the glass and carry through to the palate.  The tannins are soft and well integrated giving this medium bodies wine a velvety mouth feel.  The finish is equally as impressive as the complex palate lingers for a satisfyingly long time.

Suggested Food Pairing:  A wine as special as this Syrah should always be accompanied with a special meal.  At this price though, you can serve it often! Slow-roasted shoulder of lamb or flank steak with a honey-mustard sauce would be excellent choices.  Derek suggests that you pair this wine with beef tenderloin in a port, mushroom & stilton sauce – recipe follows.

Cellaring: It’s hard to believe that this vintage is already 5 years old. The wine will continue to mature and evolve in your cellar for another 5 to 7 years.

East Dell Estates Reserve Cabernet Franc 2007 VQA, $24.95

This is one of the premium red wines produced by Diamond Estates.  Only 110 cases or approximately 1,300 bottles of this wonderful wine were produced, so needless to say quantities are limited.  The September Tasting panel all agreed that the Cabernet Franc stole the show.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  A rich garnet-red colour with a captivating bouquet of ripe red fruit, warm spice and dark chocolate.  This medium-bodied, dry wine delivers flavours of Christmas cake, allspice and vanilla.  Well balanced and richly textured with a stewed cherry finish that seems to hang on and on.

Suggested Food Pairing:  This is a dynamo wine and would pair well with barbequed gourmet burgers or grilled lamb chops with wild mushroom risotto.  The tasting panel is recommending roast veal with braised vegetables.  Read on as the recipe for this wonderful dish is at the end of this month’s eZine.

Cellaring: This wine can be cellared for 3 to 4 more years.  However, no need to wait as it is already 5 years old so enjoy it tonight with that special someone.

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~


With Lakeview Cellars Kerner Reserve…

Lime & Honey Glazed Salmon with Warm Black Bean and Corn Salad

From: Rachel Ray 365: No Repeats – A year of Deliciously Different Dinners
Serves 4

Ingredients
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic chopped
½ Tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tsp ground cumin
Juice of 2 limes
3 Tbsp honey
1 Tsp chili powder
4 6-ounce salmon fillets
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 10-once cab of corn kernels
½ cup of chicken stock
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 to 3 Tbsp fresh cilantro
6 cups of baby spinach

Method

Preheat a skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.

While the onions are cooking, preheat another skillet over medium heat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

In a shallow dish, combine the juice of 1 lime, honey, chili powder, salt and pepper.  Add the salmon fillets to the lime-honey mixture and toss to coat thoroughly.  Add the seasoned salmon to the hot skillet and cook until just cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

To the cooked onions, add the bell peppers and corn kernels and cook for 1 minute.  Add the chicken stock and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. then add the black beans and cook until the beans are just heated through. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the juice of the second lime, the cilantro and the spinach.  Toss to wilt the spinach and then taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve the lime-honey-glazed salmon on top of the warm black bean and corn salad.

 

With Lakeview Cellars Syrah Reserve…

Beef Tenderloin with Port, Mushroom, Stilton Sauce

From: Land O Lakes Treasury of Country Recipes Cookbook
Serves 4

Ingredients
¼ cup butter
½ tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
2-3 lb. beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
2 Tbsp butter
4 oz. crumbled Stilton cheese
1 cup beef broth
¼ cup Port
2 cup sliced mushrooms (I use small Cremini or a combination)
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup green onions

Method

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a skillet melt ¼ cup butter until sizzling; stir in pepper and garlic. Place tenderloin in skillet and cook over medium high heat until browned on all sides (7 – 9 minutes). Remove from pan; reserve pan juices and browned particles in skillet.

Line a 13 x 9” baking pan with foil and place tenderloin in pan to bake for 35 – 50 minutes or until meat thermometer reaches 160 F (medium). Remove from oven and let rest, tented for 5 – 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tbsp. butter in same skillet with reserved pan juices and browned particles until sizzling; stir in blue cheese. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until cheese is melted (4 – 5 minutes). Stir in beef broth and wine; add mushrooms. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are tender. Stir in remaining sauce ingredients. Serve over carved tenderloin.

 

With East Dell Estates Reserve Cabernet Franc…

Roast Veal with Braised Vegetables

From: Food & Drink Magazine Early Summer 2009
Serves 6

Ingredients
3 lbs veal sirloin, tied in a roll
3 tbsp small rosemary sprigs
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 cup beef or chicken broth
4 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch lengths
12 fingerling potatoes halved lengthwise if thick
3 cups chicken stock
2 white turnips peeled and cut into wedges
1 bunch leeks, dark green leaves removed, cut lengthwise through the root
12 stalks asparagus, tough ends removed

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover meat with rosemary sprigs, tucking them inside if possible.  Season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over high heat until sizzling.  Add veal and brown on all sides, about 1 to 2 minutes per side then remove from skillet & place in a roasting pan.  Discard fat from skillet; add stock and garlic, scraping up all the bits on the base and bring to boil. Pour hot stock into roasting pan.

Place pan in oven and roast for 40 to 45 minutes (depending on thickness) or until medium rare.  If stock reduces too quickly in pan, add up to ½ cup of water.

While veal is roasting, place carrots and potatoes into a pot of cold chicken stock over high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until slightly softened.  Add turnips and leeks and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes.  Add asparagus and cook for 5 minutes or until all vegetables are cooked through.  Reserve vegetables and cooking liquid and reheat when needed.

Remove roasting pan from oven, remove veal and let rest for 10 minutes.  Place pan over burner and add 1 cup of reserved vegetable cooking liquid and bring to boil stirring all the little pieces at the base of the pan.  Simmer 2 minutes to intensity the flavours.

Slice veal into ½ inch slices.  Served with braised vegetables and some sauce.

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

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