We often travel great distances to discover new wine regions; to taste and experience new and exciting wines. And yet 270km from Ottawa and 240km from Toronto we find Prince Edward County (PEC) on the shores of Lake Ontario. This emerging region, designated as a VQA wine region in 2007, offers a tremendous variety of wines from a new breed of wine makers who believe in collaboration and in crafting wines in both new and exciting ways but ones based on traditions from regions long experienced in wine making. I find great passion when speaking to these winemakers and owners about what it is they do. And, passion creates wonderful wines.
The soils and climate of PEC lend themselves to many of the viticulture practices and varietals of Burgundy, France. Amongst those wineries you will find Keint-He Winery & Vineyards. This winery sits just past Wellington on the Loyalist Parkway – also known as Highway 33 – as it winds its way along the windy shores of Lake Ontario.
Keint-He (pronounced Kent-hay) is the native word for one of the four Seneca villages located in PEC region. The Seneca’s were one of the five tribes of the Iroquois. Keint-He was later francocized into Quinte and used in English names such as the Bay of Quinte.
Like father, like son
Ron Rogers, a retired banker, purchased two vineyard properties in 2006. The winery has evolved from creating their first vintage in 2007 in a small shed on the property, to their current winery producing approximately 3,000 cases with an inviting tasting room & facility. As the expression goes ‘like father, like son’, Ron’s son Bryan became the winery’s General Manager. “Dad keeps us grounded,” Bryan states with a smile.
Growth and expansion at the winery will increase their yield to between 8,000 and 10,000 cases over the next few years. Coming this year are two 5000 liter oak fermenters. These will permit Keint-he to both ferment and age their Pinot Noir in the same vessel. Another innovation that keeps Keint-He moving forward.
In your Savvy Selections, you will find:
Voyageur Vidal VQA 2012 – the exceptional weather in 2012 creates this stunning white wine.
Voyageur Rose VQA 2011 – a serious twist on Rosé…not pink at all!
Portage Pinot Noir VQA 2011 – an elegant, well defined Pinot
OPTIONAL WINES: Try this crowd pleaser with great body and staying power Chardonnay VQA 2009 or else a very unique and high-scoring wine from The County Pineaux Sauvage VQA 2008. If you asked me to add either of these to your wine list this month … you are in for a treat!
Keint-He makes such a small amount of wine that none are at the LCBO. If you would like additional bottles of your new Keint-He favourite wine, call me on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send an email to me on email@example.com to arrange an additional delivery. It is always my pleasure to introduce you to wonderful new Ontario wines!
Cheers & Enjoy,
You have been introduced to Ron Rogers, he is the man behind Keint-He Winery and Vineyards…. now let’s meet the rest of the Keint-He team – they certainly are a tight team!
Wine is way better than mating frogs!
Bryan Rogers is the General Manager and until recently the main sales force of the team. Bryan started out his early career in the sciences and in communications. When I first met him about a year ago he told me that he decided making wine was way more interesting than the mating habits of frogs. His previous “life” gives him his two mentors – Charles Darwin and David Suzuki.
In a ‘cellar conversation’ Bryan (left) told me that he loves the fact that Keint-He took shape just 8 months prior to the County getting its “Designated Viticulture Area (VQA)” status. “Call me a softy, but I feel there is some romance and excitement in starting something and not really knowing where it will lead you. PEC is a new frontier for viticulture and winemaking. There is a real sense of, “we’re all in this together” amongst all the different wineries…of which there are now almost 40! Even the largest winery in PEC is a boutique producer, so we’re all a part of the same fraternity”.
For Bryan, his favorite part of the season is harvest. “I like it when the grapes have all been picked and processed. It’s an especially tiresome point in the season for the whole team. At that point you can look across the cellar and say quite literally, these are the fruits of our labor. And then you sleep for three days”.
From New Zealand to Niagara to The County…
Ross Wise – the winemaker – is the new kid on the block having joined the team in December 2012. He comes from Flatrock Cellars in Niagara via New Zealand where he earned a degree in oenology and then learned his craft. During his time at Felton Road in Central Otago, Ross became as he puts it “a Pinot geek and a lover of soil”. When I asked him what excites him about being in The County he explained, “when I walk between the rows, kick the soil and see the rocks, I get excited”. Ross will tell you he “really likes veraison, the stage of the season when the grapes are changing color. Most of the vineyard work is done at this stage, and the berries (winespeak for grapes) are starting to develop their flavors. It is a waiting stage, with anticipation for the vintage ahead”.
Both Bryan and Ross see Prince Edward County as having the best potential to grow Pinot Noir grapes in Ontario. The reason? Bryan will initially give you a one-word answer, limestone. And, in two words, limestone and PEC’s island microclimate. From the winemaker’s perspective, Ross explains, “our Pinot Noir grapes are ripening about two weeks later than they are in Niagara – and this is a distinctive advantage. It means that the grapes are ripening in cooler temperatures and accumulating sugars slower and the flavors and aromatics are also developing slowly. This is also the reason for the great acidity in PEC Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir likes a large diurnal range of temperatures (winespeak for warm days and cool nights) and PEC delivers this during peak ripening times”.
The rest of Keint-He team is made up of Mark Gilbert and Caitlin Prior. Mark is a “County Boy” who comes from a farming family and has been with Keint-He since the beginning. Mark states, “This is the hardest farming he’s ever done”. He constantly worries about the weather but then that is so much a part of what he does. He “lives” in the vineyards from spring through to harvest. Even though he is more of a beer drinker he will admit to enjoying a glass of Keint-He Chardonnay.
More than just wine at this winery…dinner, music & more
Caitlin is the Retail Manager and Special Events Coordinator. She comes from Foreign Affair Winery in Niagara. She is a pro at WOW-ing visitors with all that Keint-He has to offer.
Caitlin has put together an exciting list of events, which she hopes will give visitors a reason to sit and enjoy the winery this summer. There is live music at the winery most weekends throughout the summer; in early September there will be the 1st Annual BBQ; the winery will be hosting a couple of Winemaker’s Dinners throughout the season and, as always there will be Keint-He’s wines to sip, savor and enjoy on the front patio. And, along with that wine you can enjoy foods this summer prepared by the Agrarian Restaurant in Bloomfield, another venture of Patricia and Bryan Rogers. Check out the Keint-He website for dates and times.
They may be small, but they have major innovations!
Growth and expansion at the winery will increase their yield to between 8 and 10,000 bottles over the next few years. Coming this year is a new oak fermentation system that will allow them to both ferment and age both the Pinot Noirs in the same vessel. I have never heard of such a thing – that in itself is a reason to put Keint-He on your list of places to visit this summer.
Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!
~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~
“The 2012 Vidal is a wine that pretty much made itself. Right from the day it was harvested it was so naturally balanced, and took very little winemaker effort at all. It’s nice when that happens” – Ross, Keint-He`s winemaker.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Our Sommeliers found this wine full of ripe fruit flavors. Perfumed with flower blossoms of orange and a hint of vanilla, it was described as “a big fruit salad in a glass”. This wine had aromas and flavors of pear, peach and nectarines, green apple and grapefruit. The flavors of pineapple, kiwi and juicy fruit gum played on the palate. The finish was long, smooth and refreshing.
This is a refreshing wine, perfect for a warm summer evening. Simply put…DELICIOUS!
Suggested Food Pairing: Pork tenderloin with an orange glaze (recipe follows) or white fish grilled with a mango/pear salsa. At Keint-He, the team favorite is a beet and goat cheese salad. Or serve this wine with a summer pear tart with a dollop of sweetened mascarpone cream – it would pair beautifully on the other end of dinner.
“Not your average Rosé wine!” Savvy Sommelier Debbie commented during the tasting panel. A serious twist on Rosé as it is a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and St. Laurent grapes – all sourced from Keint-He`s Foxtail Vineyards. The individual wines were then aged in French oak barrels for 10 months, then blended and bottled in the winter of 2013.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The color reminded us of watermelon or rhubarb. The nose was a complex blend of floral notes, cinnamon heart candy, vanilla, smoke, tart red cherries, rhubarb and dried fruits. Tastes of raspberry, pink grapefruit and rhubarb appear on the palate and a slight earthiness and oak play out in the background.
Suggested Food Pairing: We suggest trying this with a watermelon and olive salad (recipe follows) or salmon served along side a warm grilled salad.
This is a blend of grapes from three of Keint-He’s vineyards – Closson, Benway and Foxtail. Each portion was aged separately in French oak for 12 months then blended together to make this fine Pinot.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A beautiful light red in color, this wine shows aromas of raspberries, cherries, vanilla, dried fruits of raisins and dates. “It reminds me of bunch of long stemmed red roses” one of our Sommeliers commented. It is warm and velvety on the palate with light tannins. A smooth mouth feel, with flavors of raspberry, cherry, rhubarb & hints of brown sugar or molasses sweetness and earthy mushroom notes hiding in the background.
Suggested Food Pairing: Like so many Pinot Noirs, this wine would pair beautifully with salmon on the grill, grilled portobello mushrooms or perhaps if you are adventuresome, a seared and pan roasted duck breast. Chef Michael Sullivan of the Merrill Inn in Picton has graciously given us a recipe for his version of this dish. He likes to serve it with a rosti (or shredded potato cake) and fresh locally sourced vegetables – French green beans, peas, asparagus or cauliflower in season.
OPTIONAL WINES – We couldn’t resist suggesting these Keint-He wines!
This wine is an easy drinking crowd pleaser; priced at an excellent entry point into Keint-He’s premium wine offerings.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This wine is bright, straw-hued with a slight green tinge. On the nose we find creamy notes of butter, maple, fresh peach, pears and yellow plums and a mix of herbs – spearmint & thyme. Medium bodied, this wine shows some of the stone and minerality the county is known for and has good length and staying power.
Suggested Food Pairing: Pair this wine with steamed mussels and herbs; grilled shrimp or seared scallops; and/or a quinoa salad with roasted vegetables. This is a great easy drinking wine that would be perfect for sipping on the patio with a simple cheese plate…think Camembert or a young Riopelle.
A first for Prince Edward County! You may have heard the saying that wine is made in the vineyard…this is a good example. The key tool here is mould. Yes mould! Known by winemakers as Botrytis. It occurs only during damp, misty mornings and warm, dry afternoons. As the mould grows on the bunches of Pinot Noir grapes, it breaks down the thin skins & extracts the natural water in the grapes, leaving shriveled bunches. When harvested, although not appealing looking, the wine is extra concentrated with nectar. The result is a special wine known as Noble Rot.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Brown sugar in color, with aromas that reminded us of Sherry or Cognac combined with the heart-warming notes of raisin butter tarts. When this delicious nectar hits your lips, tastes of marmalade, warm spices with a Cognac like alcohol burn. It is dry, has a light finish and is not too high in alcohol (12.6%).
Suggested Food Pairing: Surprisingly, this is not a sweet dessert wine. Rather a wine that can be served as an aperitif or to unwind after a meal. Do, as the French do & serve with Foie Gras, cheese & charcuterie or with cakes – gingerbread or rum cake would be fantastic!
~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~
Pork Tenderloin with Burnt Orange and Sage Sauce
From LCBO Food & Drink, Summer 2009
By Marilyn Bentz-Crowley
4 centre-cut pork chops cut 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick or
2 large pork tenderloins, butterflied (this cut was used when testing)
1 tbsp (15 mL) peanut or canola oil
Several whole sage leaves
2 large oranges
1⁄4 cup (50 mL) granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup (50 mL) water
1 cup (250 mL) chicken broth or stock
2 tbsp (25 mL) cider vinegar
2 tbsp (25 mL) all-purpose flour
4 large fresh sage leaves, chopped
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 tsp (1 to 2 mL) salt
Several grindings of black pepper
2 tbsp (25 mL) butter, softened
To make sauce, zest oranges; set aside. Then cut away orange skin & segment orange by cutting away internal membranes. Set aside segments and juice squeezed from membranes.
Combine sugar and water in a heavy bottom medium skillet. Shaking pan occasionally, cook over medium heat for 7 to 9 minutes or until sugar caramelizes. Deglaze with broth stirred with vinegar, juice from orange segments and flour. Bring to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened.
Then stir in chopped sage, salt, pepper and a couple pinches of zest. Using a small whisk to pick up butter, rapidly whisk into sauce. Remove from heat; keep warm while grilling pork.
Rub pork with oil; lightly season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat barbecue to hot. Grill for 6 minutes per side for chops or until internal temperature for medium doneness is 150°F (65°C) for butterflied tenderloin.
Place the pork, slicing tenderloin if using, on warmed serving plates. Add reserved orange segments on top of pork. Nap with sauce; garnish with orange zest and sage leaves. Serve right away with grilled zucchini and seared rapini or spinach. Or serve this with the beet and goat cheese salad that Keint-He suggests. We were glad we did!
Watermelon & Black Olive Salad
From Wish Magazine
1 tablespoon garam marsala*
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
* garam marsala: An East Indian spice mixture that generally includes coriander seed, black pepper, cumin, cardamom, turmeric, nutmeg, cloves & cinnamon. Purchase a package of this spice mixture at an Indian grocery or health food store.
Mix together all ingredients for vinaigrette. Gently mix in vinaigrette to cover watermelon. Chill until ready to serve
TIP: this can be served as skewers of watermelon instead of a salad. Make as a salad & marinate in vinaigrette for an hour, then thread onto skewers alternating periodically with whole black olives. Either way, this dish has a WOW factor!
Merrill Inn Seared Duck Breast with Dried Blueberry Jus
Chef Michael Sullivan of the Merrill Inn in Picton
This is one of the most popular dishes at the Inn’s highly acclaimed restaurant
1 Mallard or Muscovy Duck Breast, 450g
4 oz. Roasted Chicken Demi-glaze Jus
3 tablespoons dried blueberries
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Trim some of the fat from the duck breast, leaving about ¼” on. Trim any sinew or silver skin from the meat. Season with salt and pepper.
Using a small frying pan, turn heat to medium high. As Chef Sullivan says, the secret is in a searing hot pan! Place breast in pan, skin side down. Fry for several minutes, until fat is slightly rendered and browning.
Place pan with breast in the oven, still skin side down and roast for 7 minutes.
Remove from oven, cast off rendered fat. Turn the breast over in the hot pan and let rest for 1 minute (skin side up). After a minute, remove the breast from the pan and let rest.
While the duck is resting add blueberries and chicken Demi-glaze to the pan. Over high heat reduce to a sauce like consistency (about ½). Not too runny or too thick.
Before serving, warm duck breast in the oven. Slice thinly against the grain, which runs length-wise down the breast. Fan out on plate, pour sauce over and serve.
This method is per duck breast so multipy by the number of guests you are serving.
Serve with local in-season vegetables for this simple but memorable dish.
Enjoy your Savvy Selections!