Savvy Selections wine of the month club
– August 2016 –
Every month we delight in bringing you some of Ontario’s most exclusive wines…and this month is extra special. We are delivering to you the very first release of Derek Barnett’s Meldville Wines. These wines were only just released at the winery a few weeks ago, so this is quite the opportunity to get first dibs on such an exclusive release!
Derek Barnett is no stranger to Savvy Company as he is a long-time friend. You may have fond memories of Derek gleefully pouring samples of his beautifully crafted Lailey Vineyard wines at our special portfolio tastings in Ottawa and Toronto. Derek is non-stop always attentively responding to inquiries about his wines, his work and his travels.
– 2015 First Edition Meldville Chardonnay – A crowd pleasing cool climate Chardonnay with abundance of freshness, crisp acidity and alluring floral notes.
– 2015 First Edition Meldville Sauvignon Blanc – a vibrant white wine with an enticing texture and a bouquet of fruity and zesty notes.
– 2013 First Edition Meldville Cabernet Franc – a scrumptious well-rounded red wine with lovely fruit concentration, acidity and aging potential.
Meldville Wines showcases an exciting new expression of Derek’s winemaking talent. His humbled journey to such an achievement is quite the story as well. It is exciting to taste his new wines, but we have “unlocked a little bit of Derek’s world” in the following pages that we think you will enjoy.
You definitely won’t find these wines at the LCBO!
Every month, our Savvy Sommeliers seek out wines with you in mind. Meldville Wines are a small batch of hand-crafted wines in VERY limited quantities. If you find a new favorite wine and would like to stock up, call our Savvy Team any time at 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) for additional bottles. Also call us even if you have a yearning for wines from other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections.
Cheers & enjoy your summer!
–Debbie & Savvy Team
Presented by Sommelier Monique Sosa
Life is nothing but constant and for Derek (in photo), this is no exception. He has been a hands-on winemaker throughout his entire career. Recent changes in his career have sparked quite the new beginning in his life – the decision to start crafting wines under his very own label! In this month’s Savvy Selections we get to tap into what motivates Derek, we get to learn about Derek’s pursuit to owning and operating his own winery, and of course, we get to enjoy the exclusive inaugural release of Meldville Wines. So…
…who is Derek Barnett after all?
A question to which Derek politely responds, “Wow! I really dislike talking about myself.” After we both nervously chuckled, the ice cracked and Derek came to admit that he is simply a guy who loves to drink wine and loves being a winemaker.
“I feel lucky to have the opportunity to do what I do for work every day and I simply enjoy making wines for people who love to drink wine.”
Derek hails from a deep background in agriculture. Both his grandparents owned farms in rural central England where his first job in the business was milking cows. When Derek immigrated to Canada, he worked as a dairy farmer at Don Head Farms, north of Toronto. During the 1980s, Derek was proactive in the evolution of Don Head Farms from dairy farming to a thriving fresh local produce hub. By the early 1990s, as appreciation for local gourmet foods and fine wine spiked amongst Derek and his colleagues in the Greater Toronto Area, the owners of Don Head Farms seized the opportunity to obtain a license to operate a boutique winery. They sought to source the finest grapes from key quality producers in the Niagara Escarpment with Derek as their winemaker. In 1991, the doors to their winery – Southbrook Winery – opened with a small but proud inventory of 2000 cases of wine.
Visualizing what became the first breaths of Derek’s dream career path, I asked him if it was challenging for him to take on such a role? “Not really,” he responded. Derek is proud to admit that he nurtured his craftsmanship on the job. He may not have been educationally trained but he enjoyed drinking wine, he had a trusted palate, and he understood how to make table wine that people enjoyed drinking. Vintage after vintage, as his skills and reputation expanded, while Derek recognized that being a winemaker meant far beyond just turning grape juice into wine. He recognized that being a standout winemaker included growing grapes, making wine with those grapes, and successfully selling the wine made from those grapes. “To achieve these goals, you need to connect with people,” explained Derek.
“Understanding consumers, what they like and how to connect with them is what motivates a winemaker to make great wines.”
Welcome to Meldville Wines…
With several decades of experience in winemaking at Southbrook Winery and Lailey Vineyards – and currently Karlo Estates in Prince Edward County – Derek came face to face with another career first, owning and operating his own virtual winery.
Meldville Wines, the name itself, was actually conceived by Derek some five years ago while on a road trip with his wife. From time to time, they imagined what life would be like if they owned their own winery someday.
Meldville was the name of his family homestead in Swinford, England. It was coined by his family from combining the first initials in each of their names:
– M for Malcolm (Derek’s brother)
– E for Edward (Derek’s father)
– L for Lucy (Derek’s mother)
– D for Derek
Ever since Derek committed this name to his imaginary winery, it became a constant twinkle in his eye.
What finally sealed the deal? “Well, after Lailey, I felt like it was too soon for me to retire. Suddenly, with an abundance of free time that fell on my plate, I thought to myself, there’s no time like the present,” Derek explained.
At present, Meldville Wines is a virtual winery producing wines under the license of Legends Estate Winery. The three grape varietals in this inaugural release are sourced from the Lincoln Lakeshore sub-appellation in the Niagara Escarpment. Derek chose to work with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet France because he finds these wines to be very textural, flavourful and showcases attractive levels of acidity. Derek has had experience working with Legends Winery during his years as the head winemaker at Lailey and he appreciates that he still has the support of his community and the opportunity to continue to work with such fine fruit.
What’s on the bottle?
Something to note about the wine, aside from the excitement of getting to enjoy expressions of Derek once more, are the stories behind the labels. The front and back labels both depict symbols that are important to the conceptualization of Meldville Wines. The layout of the front label depicts the first page of the first edition of the Meldville Wines story, i.e. Derek’s story. The symbolism behind the skeleton key represents an invitation to unlock a little bit Derek into your glass. On the back label, you will find a photo of what once was the Meldville homestead back in England. Altogether, it is a unique welcome symbolizing the inaugural release of Meldville Wines.
He is only getting started! Derek has many plans and ideas for his winery. Some that include plans to expand his portfolio of grapes to include Pinot Noir and Riesling. He also loves working with small lot vineyards so we can definitely expect to find rare reserve releases in the future as well. Watch out…this is just the beginning!
So, is Derek really only about wine?
“Mostly!” says Derek with a grin. To which I asked, “what do you tend to keep in your cellar Derek?” Derek responds, “I am a huge fan of Riesling.” He lit up when he described all the enticing German Rieslings he grew up drinking. Chardonnay is another top grape for Derek along with Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region in New Zealand. As for red wines, Derek loves Northern Rhone reds. He says he has quite the coveted collection in his cellar. Aside from wine, Derek is a ‘mega fan’ of craft beer and whisky. He shared with me warm stories of how he enjoyed spending many hours touring the highlands of Scotland while tasting a dram or two along his journey.
We then segued into what off-duty Derek is like. When asked what his top three things to do on a day off were, Derek shared that his number one pastime was spending time with the many women in this life – i.e. his wife, his two daughters and two granddaughters. He is a gentleman with lots of ladies in life! Derek then shared with me his passion for gardening, and from time to time, he looks forward to playing a round or two of golf.
We came full circle! When I asked Derek what he considers being his legacy, this topic took him right back to the “I hate talking about myself” moment. I admire Derek’s humility. Instead of listing off accolades and piecing together his proudest moments on a whim, Derek opted to reiterate his sincere appreciation of his journey so far. “It has been an amazing ride being a winemaker and I am simply proud of everything I have put in a bottle.”
Derek also wanted to share that he loves visiting Ottawa. He appreciates the fans he has in Ottawa and looks forward to visiting us again soon.
Here`s to Derek & realizing his dream of Meldville Wines.
~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~
Savvy Sommelier Tastings Notes: This Chardonnay immediately grabs your attention with a surge of fresh fruit and floral aromas. The key flavours show pronounced notes of honeysuckle, young pineapple, Asian pear, and honeydew melon. Sip after sip, you will note a lively mouth-watering acidity, a crisp mouth feel and a refreshingly dry finish on the palate. This is no doubt a fantastic crowd-pleasing expression of a cool climate Chardonnay.
Suggested Food Pairings: Enjoy this medium bodied white wine with a range of hearty meals including seafood linguine, butternut squash risotto or even crispy fried chicken.
Cellaring: Drinking well now. Can cellar for 1-2 years. Serve chilled between 10⁰-12⁰C
Savvy Sommelier Tastings Notes: This Sauvignon Blanc showcases a pleasant tropical fruit note upfront and a zesty herbaceous note on the finish. As you pour yourself a glass, notice the bursting aromas of guava, kiwi, lemongrass, and orange blossom. The palate is a noticeably rounder and fuller in style with impressive fruit concentration, length of flavours, and body; even though it was fully fermented in stainless steel tanks. This white wine also shows an attractive balance of fruit flavours, dryness, and high mouth-watering acidity.
Suggested Food Pairings: Enjoy pairing this vibrant and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc with green leafy salads, lemon-garlic marinated shrimp skewers or basil pesto based dishes.
Cellaring:Drinking well now. Can cellar for 1-2 years. Serve chilled between 10⁰-12⁰C
Savvy Sommelier Tastings Notes: This Cabernet Franc pours with an attractive deep ruby red appearance and an explosion of plum, berry fruit, and savoury aromas. Dominant notes include raspberries, blackberries, fresh cranberries and hints of spearmint, clove, and dried herbs. The palate shows a lovely integration of red berry notes, high acidity, young tannins, and long enticing tart cranberry note.
Suggested Food Pairings: Enjoy this medium bodied Cabernet Franc with slow roasted beef tenderloin, a gamey venison stew or simple pork chops on the BBQ.
Cellaring: Drinking well now. Can cellar for 5-7 years. Serve chilled between 16⁰-18⁰C
~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~
With the Meldville Chardonnay…
A Butternut Squash Risotto
Recipe and photo credit to thepioneerwoman.com
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
1/2 whole Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded & diced
3 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Black Pepper – to taste
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 whole diced onion
1-1/2 cup Arborio rice
6 cups (approximately) vegetable or chicken broth (low sodium is recommended)
Salt & Pepper – to taste
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup heavy cream (less if desired)
1/2 cup parmesan shavings – for garnish
Finely Minced Parsley – for garnish
Heat 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add squash and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Cook for several minutes, turning gently with a spatula until squash is deep golden brown and tender (but not falling apart.) Remove to a plate and set aside.
Heat broth in a saucepan over low heat. Keep warm.
Add 2 tablespoons butter to the same skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until translucent. Add Arborio rice and stir, cooking for 1 minute.
Reduce heat to low. In 1-cup increments, begin adding broth to the skillet, stirring to combine and gently stirring as the broth is absorbed. As soon as the liquid disappears, add in another cup to cup-and-a-half of broth. Continue this process, stirring gently as the broth incorporates and the rice starts to become tender. Add salt, pepper along the way.
Taste the rice after about 5 cups of broth have been absorbed and see what the consistency is. Add another 1 to 2 cups of broth as needed to get the rice to the right consistency: it should be tender with just a little bit of “bite” left to it.
When the rice is tender, add the cooked squash and turmeric and stir it in gently. Add the cream and Parmesan shavings and stir until it’s just combined. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.
Sprinkle minced parsley over the top and serve immediately!
With Meldville Sauvignon Blanc…
Lemon Garlic Shrimp
Recipe and photo credit to eatingwell.com
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/4 pounds cooked shrimp
Place garlic and oil in a small skillet and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper.
Then toss over (thawed) cooked shrimp in a large bowl and serve.
With Meldville Cabernet Franc…
Roasted Beef Tenderloin
Recipe and photo credit to thepioneerwoman.com
Prep Time: 25 minutes | Cook Time: 25 minutes
1 whole (4-5 lbs.) Beef Tenderloin
4 Tablespoons salted butter – more to taste
1/3 cup whole peppercorns more to taste
Seasoning salt (or your favorite blend with ingredients such as salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika…among other things!)
Lemon Pepper Seasoning
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Rinse meat well. Trim away some of the fat to remove the silvery cartilage underneath. With a very sharp knife, begin taking the fat off the top, revealing the silver cartilage underneath. You definitely don’t want to take every last bit of fat off—not at all. As with any cut of meat, a little bit of fat adds to the flavor. (Hint: you can also ask the butcher to do this trimming for you if the process seems intimidating.)
Sprinkle meat generously with seasoning salt. You can much more liberally season a tenderloin because you’re having to pack more of a punch in order for the seasoning to make an impact. Rub it in with your fingers. Sprinkle both sides generously with lemon & pepper seasoning. (There are no measurements because it depends on your taste, but be sure to season liberally.)
Place the peppercorns in a Ziploc bag, and with a mallet or a hammer or a large, heavy can, begin smashing the peppercorns to break them up a bit. Set aside.
Heat some olive oil in a heavy skillet. When the oil is to the smoking point, place the tenderloin in the very hot pan to sear it. Throw a couple of tablespoons of butter into the skillet to give it a nice little butter injection before going in the oven. A minute or two later, when one side is starting to turn nice and brown, flip and repeat.
Place the tenderloin on an oven pan with a rack. Sprinkle the pummeled peppercorns all over the meat. Press the pepper onto the surface of the meat. Put several tablespoons of butter all over the meat. Stick the long needle of the thermometer lengthwise into the meat. Place it in a 475-degree oven until the temperature reaches just under 140 degrees, about fifteen to twenty minutes. Stay near the oven and keep checking the meat thermometer to make sure it doesn’t overcook.
Let meat stand ten minutes or so before slicing, so the meat will have a chance to relax a bit.
To serve, you can spoon the olive oil/butter juices from the skillet onto the top of the meat for a little extra flavor.
Note: if you live outside of America and can’t get Lawry’s, any good salt blend will do. (For the record, I think Lawry’s has salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika in it, among other things.)
Enjoy your Savvy Selections!