Karlo Estates Winery: Cutting Edge Wines from A Historic Property


Fall is harvest time and for Ontario’s wineries that means, it is time to get the grapes off the vines and into the winery where they will be pressed and fermented.The jury is still out as to what promises the 2011 vintage holds.

Given the fact that wineries are so busy at this time of year, it was a welcome break for Karlo Estates Winery owner and winemaker Richard Karlo, to take time out of his day to be interviewed with our Sommelier Derek Vollrath. Richard reported that the summer was spectacular for growing, while the fall was wet & cool. Harvest is a fine balancing act of juggling ripening levels & watching for weather windows. No doubt all winemakers breathe much easier once all of the grapes are harvested in the tanks fermenting.

My discovery of Karlo Estates was first with a sip of their wines, then with a visit a few weeks after they opened.I was immediately impressed with its stunning historic property in ‘The County’ – Prince Edward County that is.Richard now calls this land his home, vineyard & winery. I have returned for a visit several times since – always with friends in tow.In addition to the amazing wines, there are interesting sites on the property & antiques in the converted heritage barn that will undoubtedly intrigue you. And you won’t forget the warm welcome that awaits you when you visit the winery, the joy de vivre of Richard & his partner Sherry and of course, Richard’s signature laugh.

Our Team of Savvy Sommeliers is pleased to introduce you to Karlo Estates Winery with this month’s Savvy Selections:

·Karlo Estates Riesling 2010 – crisp & zippy – an absolutely refreshing white wine

·Karlo Estates Chardonnay 2010 – you are the first to receive this wine as it was bottled in time to be included in Savvy Selections

·Karlo Estates Petit Verdot 2010 – a grape variety often set aside for blending. The grapes were so perfect during last year’s harvest, Richard made this single varietal wine instead.

·OPTIONAL WINE: Karlo Estates Van Alstine Port 2009 – the first & only port made in The County

In the following pages, Richard shares how his fascination for winemaking began when he a young boy.This interest broke ground on the path to becoming a professional wine judge then acclaimed winemaker. I am confident that you too will be impressed with this month’s Savvy Selections wines and will enjoy making the recipes that Derek chose to accompany this month’s feature wines.

You won’t find these wines at the LCBO

If you would like to stock up on more bottles of Karlo wines, ordering them is easy – simply send me an e-mail to debbie@savvycompany.ca or call 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926).We will gladly make the arrangements to have additional bottles of your favorite Karlo Estates or wines from previous Savvy Selections shipped directly to you.

Cheers & Enjoy!

– Debbie & Savvy Team


Presented by Sommelier Derek Vollrath

Trying to organize an interview with a winery owner during harvest time is next to impossible, that’s why I am thankful that Richard Karlo, owner and winemaker at Karlo Estates was able to find time in his schedule for a phone interview.When I caught up with Richard he had just come in from the barn where the Frontenac Noir was being crushed.

Rich, as he prefers to be called, grew up making wine – literally.He began at the young age of 8 watching his father make wine at home.According to Rich, he was “more interested in the process”, but I am sure that thimble sized sample or two along that way didn’t hurt either! Armed with his Dad’s winemaking techniques, Rich eventually tried his hand at crafting his own wine.

Rich joined the Amateur Winemakers of Ontario (AWO) knowing far too well that crafting wine would become more than just a hobby.Although the group is called “Amateur” they are anything but.The AWO is forum whereby other like-minded winemakers get together to learn new techniques from one another & exchange ideas about winemaking.

Not only has Rich been making wines since he was knee high to a grasshopper, he has long time been successful in winning awards for his wines.One of his most memorable awards was in 2010 at the Toronto Gourmet Food and Wine Show when John Szabo and Zoltan Szabo selected the first release of the 2008 Van Alstine Port as one of the “Top 10 Cutting Edge Wines of the World”. What an honour!Several of our subscribers had a bottle of this outstanding port added to their Savvy Selections shipment.

In addition to being a Master Winemaker, Rich is a member of the Wine Judges of Canada.Becoming a professional wine judge is no easy feat as candidates must first be nominated into the program.Once nominated, they are required to complete an intensive 30 month program that covers all aspects of wine from gaining an expert knowledge of the wine regions of the world, to understanding how to detect subtle differences in wines acidity or sugar levels.It is very intense!

The Bridge, the Wall & the Barn
During a visit to Karlo Estates, you will be amazed by three unique and wonderful features: a dry stone construction bridge, a 20 foot dry stone construction wall around the winery and a rustic wooden barn.

The barn has been converted to house the winery operations including the tasting room, the cellar, a catering kitchen as well as an art gallery.The barn has intentionally been left rustic because Rich didn’t want to change the character and charm of the building.

The stone wall around the heritage barn was built in 2005 with limestone pieces from the property and the bridge over the creek that runs between the two vineyards was built by hand in 2007.Both were ‘weekend projects’ by Rich, stonemasons & friends.These structures are a tribute to Rich’s English heritage as they were constructed using a technique known as dry stone construction.Dry stone construction is a method of construction whereby structures are built by fitting stones together – no mortar (or glue) is used. The results of both are fantastic and are a must see during a tour of the County. You will see an illustration of the bridge along with the keystone on the wine labels.

An Adventurous Winemaker
Rich believes that his involvement with the AWO has enabled him to be, in his words “a more adventurous winemaker than those formally trained”.

This adventurous spirit is apparent in all of his wines.He is reserved in the use of “wood” as only his Chardonnay’s see any new oak barrels.However, everything else, as Richard puts it, “gets a kiss of oak”.

The Port which is featured as an optional wine this month is also an adventurous product.The first vintage (2008) was made as a bit of a lark.However, the joke’s on Rich because not only has the 2008 Port been recognized as a “Cutting Edge Wine” it is also one of their biggest sellers.Now that is impressive – Enjoy!


Karlo Estates Riesling 2010, $22.00

Prince Edward County Rieslings are known for their acidity.To help tame the acidity, Rich barrel fermented this Riesling for 3 to 4 months in six year old oak barrels and left some residual sugar in the final wine. (winemakers note: after 3 years, oak barrels are considered neutralized & impart little oak taste in the wine)

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Bright, clear and light gold in colour with aromas of honeysuckle, pear and peach that leap from the glass.The aromas come through on the palate meaning you will enjoy flavours of honey, pear with some hints of minerality and citrus.This medium bodied wine is off-dry on the palate (winespeak for slightly sweet) with a medium length sweet apple finish.The tasting panel also noted that the crisp acidity is balanced nicely with the residual sugar.

Suggested Food Pairing:Spicy food would be an excellent complement to the natural sweetness in this wine.With this in mind, our Savvy Selections tasting panel recommends the zingy pork tenderloin with jalapeño-mango salsa. The recipe follows. Enjoy!

Cellaring: Rieslings are one of the few white wines capable of aging.The fruit, sugar and acidity found in this wine will allow you to keep this wine in your cellar for up to 24 months.

Karlo Estates Chardonnay 2010, $25.00

This Chardonnay was barrel fermented in CHOA for 3 months.What is CHOA you ask?Cherry, Hickory, Oak and Ash – all of which were grown in the County.Rich aged this Chardonnay in barrels of each wood produced by a cooper that lives in Prince Edward County.

This wine was just bottled in time to be included in the Savvy Selections – you are the first to enjoy it!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Golden yellow in colour with a slight haze that is natural since it is an unfiltered wine.Don’t be put off as the haze lends to the wines complexity as all of the flavours were not stripped out during the filtration process.The aromas are clean with characteristic Chardonnay notes of spice, butterscotch and tropical fruit, all courtesy of the unique barrels used to ferment the wine.On the palate the wine is dry, medium to full-bodied with flavours of sweet spice, melon and pineapple.There is a rich and creamy mouth feel to this wine which is complemented by a “crazy long nutty finish”, commented one of our Sommeliers during the tasting.

Suggested Food Pairing: We unanimously agreed that this Chardonnay would pair well with Salmon Wellington. Alternatively, try your hand at the Flambéed Chicken with Asparagus Spears recipe below.

Cellaring:This wine would be great chilled and enjoyed with your Christmas dinner or it could be cellared for up to 18 months.

5th Element Petit Verdot 2010 $33.00 (special Savvy Subscriber price – regular $39)

It is relatively uncommon for a Petit Verdot to be crafted into a single varietal wine.Always looking to introduce our subscribers to wines that are both delicious & different, we think that this newly released wine is hands down outstanding!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Garrnet red in colour with an intriguing bouquet of red fruit, cedar, leather and dark chocolate.Sweet spice, licorice and pepper are all noticeable on the palate.This dry, medium bodied wine has a long and peppery finish with noticeable tannins that will soften as the wine ages.

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine would pair well with gourmet burgers or hardy stews.The tasting panel offers a recipe for Grilled Garlic Pepper Steak – recipe follows

Cellaring: This wine is ready to drink (enjoyed with a group of friends) or cellared for 2 to 3 years.

OPTIONAL WINE: Karlo Estates Van Alstine Port 2009$29.00

This special fortified wine is named as a tribute to Peter Van Alstine.  Rich explains its historic significance, “Peter Van Alstine was the leader of the first group of loyalists settlers in The County back in 1784.  He built the Glenora Ferry and the Mill in Glenora which is located at Lake on the Mountain.And he was the first Member of Parliament for this area”.  To top it all off, while converting the barn into a winery, Rich found an old map of The County and discovered that Van Alstine was also the first owner of Rich’s vineyard property – that was granted to him in 1799.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Dark ruby red in colour with a complex nose of sweet spice, Christmas cake and stewed plums.This is a medium-bodied port. There is a delicious rich mouth feel to this port accompanied by a medium length plum finish. Yummy!

Suggested Food Pairing: This Port would be delicious to sip on after any meal.If you want to enjoy this wine with food then pair it with a plate of Canadian artisan cheeses and mixed dried fruit with roasted nuts is a classic pairing.According to our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa, make sure you a chunk of strong cheddar and blue cheese too to nibble on with the port.And the alcohol is much lower than other ports (usually around 20%), Rich recommends to serve his port slightly chilled.

Cellaring: This port is ready to be enjoyed with a group of friends now or cellared for 3 to 5 years.

With Karlo Estates Chardonnay …

Flambéed Chicken with Asparagus

From: BBC’s Good Food

Serves 4


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 Tbsp of seasoned plain flour
2 Tbsp olive oil

Knob of butter
4 shallots, finely chopped
4 Tbsp brandy or Cognac

1 ¼ cups chicken stock

16 asparagus spears, halved

4 heaping Tbsp crème fraîche
1 Tbsp chopped tarragon


1.Dust the chicken with the flour. Heat the oil and butter in a large, wide pan with a lid, add the chicken, then fry on all sides until nicely browned.

2.Add the shallots, then fry for about 2 minutes until they start to soften, but not coloured. Pour in the brandy, carefully ignite, then stand well back until the flames have died down. Stir in the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes until the chicken is just tender.

3.Add the asparagus to the sauce. Cover, and then cook for 5 minutes more until tender. Stir in the crème fraîche and tarragon and warm through. Season to taste.

With Karlo Estates 5th Element Petit Verdot…

Grilled Garlic Pepper Steak

From: Canadian Living Magazine

Serves 4


cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

2 tsp (10 mL) vegetable oil

3/4 tsp (4 mL) pepper

1 lb (454 g) thick-cut top sirloin grilling steak or flank marinating steak


1.In small bowl and with back of spoon, mash garlic with salt until paste; mix in oil and pepper. Rub onto both sides of steak; let stand for 10 minutes.

2.Place steak on greased grill over high heat or under broiler; close lid and cook, turning once, until medium-rare and pink in centre, about 8 minutes.

3.Transfer to cutting board; tent with foil and let stand for 5 minutes before slicing thinly across the grain to serve.Enjoy!

Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

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