One of the oldest and best established wineries in Prince Edward County, Huff Estates has blazed the trail for the County’s cool climate techniques. From burying vines in winter to experimenting with sparkling wines, Huff is always at the forefront.
In this month’s Savvy Selections, we’re trying a new format to discover more about what life is like for Huff Estates’ long-serving winemaker, Frédéric Picard, with his answers to our Twenty Questions.
Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…
In your Savvy Selections you will find three of our favorite Huff wines that we chose for you:
2014 South Bay Vineyard Chardonnay – Rich and flavourful, with just a whisper of oak.
2013 Gamay – A savoury red that leaves a big impression.
2014 South Bay Vineyard Merlot – Replete with ripe fruit and mouthwatering acidity, this is a great food wine.
The Best of the County
Huff Estates has built its reputation on offering dependable, delicious wines that show off Prince Edward County’s unique terroir. These wines are ready to drink, though they could be cellared for a year or two. Our Savvy Sommeliers know you’ll love them as much as we do!
-Debbie & Savvy Team
20 Questions with Frédéric Picard
Presented by Sommelier David Loan
We are trying something different for fun & to keep digging deeper to get some interesting ‘dirt’ (being a it cheeky here) about the dynamic people behind the wines that we feature. Not only are they great winemakers, they are people too with neat stories about how they got into the wine world.
No one likes to be in the hot seat with Twenty Questions being fired at you for quick on-the-spot answers. Here we present Frederic Picard & his backstory…(imagine said with his French accent!)
Location: Huff Estates
Current Job: Winemaker
What drink would you like right this minute?
A beer. I’m a winemaker! (says with a chuckle)
When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?
What was the very first winery that you ever visited?
A winery in Meursault with my Dad. I was very young.
What wine got you hooked?
Burgundy wines, especially chardonnays.
Take a few minutes and jot down the path to becoming the winemaker you are today:
Adventurous, curious, enthusiast and wine lover!
My winemaking style in 3 words:
Balance, elegance and respectful.
Is there music playing in the cellar right now?
Favorite thing about the local wine industry:
You can taste and compare with what you make.
Favorite thing about growing grapes:
Making wine with them!
What part of winemaking are you always trying new things?
Fermentation and barrel ageing.
What is the unglamorous thing about winemaking?
All the winemakers I worked with.
What wine region do you want to visit next?
One surprising thing that I’m really good at:
When is your birthday (no year required!)
My Birthday “Favorite Meal”:
Good cheeses, fresh bread and wines that I never tasted before.
A funny moment you remember about visitors coming to the winery:
A group of people came a few years ago and started to sing in the middle of the retail store! It was really nice and unexpected!
We hope you love these beautiful Huff wines every bit as much as we do!
~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~
For your Savvy Selection this month, we’ve chosen three wines that beautifully showcase Frederic’s talent. We know that you’ll love the remarkable flavours of these unique wines, along with some delicious recipes that will perfectly match food and drink.
South Bay Vineyards Chardonnay VQA Prince Edward County 2014
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Winner of the 2016 Intervin “Honours” medal and Wine Align 2016 Silver medal, we think you’ll find this a big winner, too! The nose offers classic Chardonnay notes: apricot, green apple, and peach with a hint of minerality. There’s some nice acid on the finish, along with more of that peach and steeliness. But it also offers coconut and nuts, showing the winemaker’s delicate touch with oak.
Suggested Food Pairings: How about a pumpkin ravioli with cream sauce for your après ski supper? This will be perfect! Recipe below.
Cellaring: Drink at 8-9ºC within two years.
Gamay VQA Creek Shores 2013,
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Gamay is a grape that does very well in Ontario’s cool climate, where it often produces lighter bodied wines.
Here’s an exception: Huff’s Gamay has big flavours of candied dark cherries, smoke, and leather in a medium bodied wine. Tannins are soft but chewy, and there’s a hint of black licorice on the lonnnggg finish.
Suggested Food Pairings: Our tasting team had lots of ideas for this one: pork tenderloin, roast chicken, chicken pot pie. But we settled on something a bit more exotic – Mongolian Hot Pot! Recipe follows
Cellaring: Ready to drink now, this could be cellared for up to three years. Serve cool but not cold: 12-14ºC.
South Bay Vineyards Merlot VQA Prince Edward County 2014
Savvy Special Price: $32 (regular $40)
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Pouring an opaque purple, this full-bodied Merlot was a hit with our tasters! There’s lots of dark fruit and chocolate here, with notes of coffee, plums, leather, and jam. The acidity is on the higher side, so this is VERY food-friendly. Tannins are soft and elegant.
Suggested Food Pairings: Here’s a terrific wine for your Sunday roast beef, served with a traditional Yorkshire pudding. Recipe below.
Cellaring: Drinking well now, this can cellar 3-5 years. Serve at 14-16ºC.
~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~
With Huff South Bay Vineyards Chardonnay …
Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Cream Sauce
Recipe & Photo credit: Epicurious.com
1 8- to 9-ounce package refrigerated pumpkin or squash ravioli
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or 1 1/2 teaspoons crumbled dried sage leaves
3/4 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup whipping cream
Parmesan cheese shavings
Cook ravioli in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, about 8 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add pecans and stir until slightly darker and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer pecans to small bowl. Add shallots and sage to same skillet. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine and cream. Increase heat and boil until sauce is reduced to generous 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes.
Add ravioli to sauce; toss. Season with salt and pepper. Divide between bowls. Sprinkle with pecans and Parmesan.
With Huff Gamay…
Mongolian Hot Pot
Recipe and photo: Thewoksoflife.com
Don’t get put off by the number of ingredients here. You can as many or as few condiments as you wish, and the list of dipping items is entirely optional to your tastes.
For the soup base:
2 tablespoons oil
6 slices ginger
3-5 bay leaves
10 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cinnamon stick
5 star anise
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
12 whole dried red chilies
1 package spicy hot pot soup base
12-15 cups chicken stock
Chili oil or paste
Chinese black vinegar or rice vinegar
Sesame paste or peanut butter
Suggested items for cooking:
Thinly shaved beef or lamb
Assorted fish balls (you can buy these pre-made at Asian grocery stores)
Thinly sliced fish fillets (tender white fish like tilapia or sea bass work well for this)
Slices of firm tofu
Soy puffs (fried tofu puffs)
Straw, Shiitake or Wood Ear mushrooms
Glass noodles (mung bean vermicelli)
Prepared frozen dumplings or wontons
Chinese rice cakes (like these)
Choy sum or bok choy
Green leaf lettuce
For the soup base:
In a wok over medium heat, add the oil and the ginger. Cook the ginger for about a minute until caramelized, making sure it doesn’t burn. Add the bay leaves, whole garlic cloves, cinnamon stick, star anise, and cloves. Cook for another 2 minutes, until very fragrant.
Add the Sichuan peppercorns, dried chilies (whole), and the spicy hot pot soup base. Cook for another 2 minutes, and then add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and transfer to the pot you’ll be using for your hot pot meal. You want the pot to be relatively wide and at least 6 inches deep.
To make the dipping sauce, simply combine whatever mix of ingredients you like.
To assemble the hotpot, simply plug in your hot plate, place the prepared pot of broth on top, and bring to a low boil or simmer. Place all your prepared ingredients around it, have everyone mix up their own dipping sauces, and dive in.
Each person just takes whatever they want, adds it to the pot, waits for it to cook, and then dips it into their sauce. As the water evaporates as you’re cooking, add boiling water to the pot as needed. You can also serve rice with hot pot (we do), but it’s not mandatory.
With Huff South Bay Vineyards Merlot…
Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding
Recipe & Photo credits FoodNetwork.ca
Fore rib beef (about 4 kg), French trimmed, on the bone, chined
Freshly cracked black pepper
For the Yorkshire pudding:
275ml/½ pint milk
Preheat the oven to its highest setting.
Rub the beef with the olive oil, salt and pepper all over.
Put a heavy-based roasting tray on the hob and when hot, add the beef. Sear the beef quickly on all sides to colour and crisp the outside.
Transfer the beef immediately to the oven and leave the oven on its highest setting (about 460F) for 20 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 375F and roast for half an hour per kilo for rare, adding another ten minutes per kilo for medium rare, 20 minutes per kilo for medium, and 30 minutes per kilo for well done. Remove the beef from the oven, transfer it to a carving board and cover with foil. Allow it to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.
For the Yorkshire pudding, mix together the eggs, flour and a pinch of salt. Add the milk, stirring constantly, until you have a runny batter. Leave this to rest, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours.
Place ½ inch of beef dripping in the bottom of each pudding mould, or if you are using a rectangular roasting tray, place ½ inch of beef dripping across the bottom. Heat the dripping in the oven (at 460F) for about ten minutes, until it is piping hot.
Remove the roasting tray from the oven, pour in the batter, and immediately return to the oven. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown and crispy, making sure not to open the oven door for the first 20 minutes.
Serve immediately with the carved roast beef.
Enjoy your Savvy Selections!