They’re bee-zy at Rosewood Estates Winery & Meadery

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Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring Rosewood Estates Winery & Meadery

– February 2015 –


One of the best parts of my job is watching wine, craft beer & cheese companies grow.  Since starting Savvy Company 13 years ago, (we were known as The Savvy Grapes back then) I have met many interesting people in ‘the biz’.  Mark my words, that there is no one who can talk as fast as Krystina Roman of Rosewood Estates Winery & Meadery!  I can tell you that openly because another ‘best parts of my job’ is that many of the amazing people I meet often become friends.  Krystina is definitely one of them.

Rosewood has been a winery ‘to watch’ ever since I discovered them.  This marks our third Savvy Selections feature of this family business located along the Beamsville Bench (aka Niagara Escarpment).   With each feature, the quality of their wines evolved, while their portfolio expanded, won impressive awards…and this holds true with their mead wines (made with honey) too.

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

rew_logoSelect Sémillon VQA 2013A dry white wine. Refreshing & crisp, it reminds you that summer will soon be back!

Origin Cabernet Franc VQA 2012 From their premium wine series, this shows that Ontario can make big red wines.

Lock, Stock & Barrel VQA 2012Man, we are good! When the winery team ‘happened’ to find a bunch of cases of this top selling wine, without hesitation, I allocated them to us! We can’t wait for you to try this red blend of 5 different grape varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot & Malbec.

Intrigued about Mead?

rosewood honey jarKrystina’s grandfather was a beekeeper and her father followed in his footsteps.  “It was a natural fit to extend our experience of winemaking into mead”, explains Krystina.  And is has proven to be a success, “Though, I wish that I had more bees!”

Flip through these pages to learn more about Rosewood wines, how meads is made, our Savvy Sommelier tasting notes & recipes we have paired for each wine.  Also you will find my interview with Krystina about her family business…ok, it was less formal than an interview and more like friends chatting while running a business/ driving to a wine tasting/ proofing labels….I was in the office and Krystina was on the go! That is how she rolls – you’ll see what I mean when you meet her at the winery or the next Savvy Event.

You won’t find these Rosewood wines & meads at the LCBO

Rosewood is a boutique winery & makes small lots (winespeak: limited inventory) of these particular wines.  None of them are at the LCBO. If you would like additional bottles of your new favourite Rosewood wine, call me on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca to arrange an additional delivery. Savvy Selections is all about introducing you to wonderful Ontario wines!


-Debbie & Savvy Team


Rosewood Estates Winery & Meadery

Presented by Sommelier Debbie Trenholm


“My parents were workaholics & when they took a break for a quick getaway, they’d go to Niagara.  And in the summer, we’d head on a 2 week family vacation to wine regions in France,” shared Krystina. “It was on these trips that all of us caught the wine bug!”

Rosewood familyWhile Krystina (left in photo), her brother William (right) and parents – Renata & Eugene Roman (centre) still travel together to wine regions, the family put the idea into motion by buying 40 acres along the Beamsville Bench (aka Niagara Escarpment) in 2000 and opened Rosewood Estates in 2008. Mark my word, in seven short years, this winery has grown immensely!

We’ve featured Rosewood in Savvy Selections in 2010 & 2013. Over this time their wines have gone from great to incredible.  “Our family is non-stop about wine!” exclaims Krystina.  Now seriously…is that bad thing?

A perfect food & wine match

rosewood ross wise winemakerIn the past 2 years, Ross Wise has been part of that growth as consulting winemaker.  Now he won’t leave!  Hailed from New Zealand where he was studying to become a chef at the time, Ross was intrigued with the rapidly growing wine industry around him in New Zealand.  He took a left hand turn from his culinary studies to enrol in Winemaking & Viticulture in Hawkes Bay. After extensive work in local vineyards & cellars, he took the opportunity to come north to Niagara where he worked in the vineyards at Flat Rock Cellars (about 15 minutes away from Rosewood).  A three month job soon became 6 years including winemaking at Good Earth Wine & Food (in Niagara), Keint-He Winery (in Prince Edward County) and Rosewood.  “He is quite the kiwi…and he won’t leave!” remarked Krystina in a friendly notion.

At Rosewood, Ross & William are always experimenting in the vineyard & in the cellar.  The Lock, Stock & Barrel wine that is in your Savvy Selections is one of their creations.   “We’ll only make it once and when it’s gone, those who have a bottle in their cellar will be very happy”, explains Krystina.

Cheese & Wine – naturally at Rosewood

“I have never met anyone crazier about cheese than Ross”, stated Krystina.  Well, we know one that could rival that statement…our Savvy Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons!  Ross is often searching to make wines that would enhance cheese – either made locally or that he has whipped up in his kitchen.  And mead is a natural complement to cheese too – it’s any wonder that being the winemaker at Rosewood is a perfect match for Ross!

Everyone is family

You will see familiar faces when you visit the winery as “Everyone in our crew is family.  We treat them like family & they don’t leave!”, says Krystina with her signature laugh.  They are a crew of 8 people (4 of them are the Roman family), Ross from New Zealand & Sonia from Italy (who I met when I worked at her husband’s winery in Tuscany – another story!) along with Gabi and Adam who are from nearby.

A very bee-zy place

Rosewood is always a ‘must visit’ when I head to Niagara.  In fact, a whole day can be spent on Mountainview Road with 8 wineries spotted on both sides of the street as you drive up to the top of the bench.

Visit Rosewood during the summer & as you may expect, there are roses everywhere. The estate has a peaceful vista of vines hugging the gentle slopes with Lake Ontario on the horizon.  When you open the grand doors of the tasting room, it is always a beehive of activity!  There are wine lovers at the tasting bar discovering mead for the first time, regulars dropping in to stock up on their favorite honey & wines.  French, German, Italian along with English being spoken to make everyone feel like family.  If you haven’t been yet, make it a stop on your next trip to see what I mean!

This sums it up…

Rosewood's Krystina's wineWhen you live & breathe wine & you’re in business with your family, you may think you know everything that is going on.

Case in point…Krystina was stumped when William gave her this bottle a few days ago.  Thrilled & eager to share, she posted this gift on Facebook.  I think it sums the energy & people at Rosewood.  “This is what a family business is all about…My brother made a wine for me from vines planted in 1986. Crazy special. He got the entire team to hide it from me for 1.5 years. What a guy. What a crew. #BestTeamEver!”


Mead Fact Sheet

Courtesy of Rosewood Estates website

What Is Mead?  

rew_honeybee(1)Made from the fermentation of honey and water, mead (or honey wine) is the earliest known form of consumable alcohol. Its first appearance as a beverage was approximately 10,000 years ago. Mead has deep historical roots, and it was the drink of choice for many ancient civilizations.

In ancient Greece, Hippocrates used mead as a tonic, while the Vikings believed that honey and mead were a gift from the heavens (Valhalla) and possessed magical properties. In Celtic traditions, a wedding wasn’t complete without a mead toast to the young couple, wishing them a sweet marriage. It has even been said that the term honeymoon comes from a tradition where-in the newly married couple would drink mead for a full lunar (moon) cycle, to ensure a long marriage with fertility, health, and success.

Rosewood meads are hand-created from all natural ingredients, showcasing the lush bounty of Ontario. We incorporate our own Niagara Bench honey, Ontario grapes and other local flavours. Honey is a remarkable product which contains a complex mixture of sugars, enzymes, proteins, organic compounds and trace minerals. These compounds give honey its distinctive flavour and aromas, which, when fermented, creates sensational wines with incredible character. Meads are produced in several different styles including some traditional Celtic meads, sweeter ones, and a few which we age for 24-36 months in French Oak barrels.

Innovation is at the heart of our mead making process, and we strive to produce inspired meads with a twist. Our mead’s are inspired by both classic and modern interpretations of this once popular, but almost forgotten drink of the past.

Quick facts & tips about Rosewood Meads:

Rosewood bee hiveMeads vary from dry to sweet.

We produce a wide range of meads including pyments, melomels and barrel aged meads.

Alcohol ranges between 12% to 16.5%.

Some meads are aged in seasoned premium French Oak barrels.

Meads are best served chilled.

Meads are versatile and pair easily with cheeses, desserts, savoury and spicy cuisine. They can also be powerful and interesting mixers in cocktails.

With great aging potential, many of the meads can be enjoyed now or cellared for years.




Rosewood Select Sémillon VQA 2013, $18.00

A grape rarely grown in Ontario, the family discovered this variety during a family vacation in Bordeaux, France…and they fell in love & wanted to make Sémillon at their winery!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: One sip & you’ll be reminded of hot summer days.  Refreshing, crisp, zippy & dry, this white wine has a great balance of acidity & flavours.  Aromas & tastes of crunchy green apple, just ripe pear or white peach, along with an appealing floral notes (daisy perhaps…it’s been a few months since I have smelled them!)

Suggested Food Pairings: “This says seafood all over it”, explains Kyrstina.  “I’d make ceviche.”   On the following pages, we offer an easy ceviche recipe. If fish does not suit your fancy, a simple vegetable dish like pasta primavera would be great.

Cellaring: Why wait?  Chill & serve now.  Aged Sémillon wines are growing in popularity in France.  The crispness of the acidity will mellow to more toasty characteristics over several (8-10) years.  The colour will change too into a golden colour perhaps with an orange hue.


Origins Cabernet Franc VQA 2012, $26.00

What is the origin of Rosewood’s Origins you ask?  It is the reserve series of wines that are unique to Rosewood.  “We make the wines as natural as possible,” explains Krystina. “We take every effort to respect the grapes & let the variety show through.”

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: We are certain that you will be impressed with the depth & concentration of the dark colour of this wine.  It shows that Ontario continues to be an ideal location to grow Cabernet Franc grapes that will make big bold wines.  With each sip you’ll find red fruits (think raspberry & cherry) along with dried black fruit (figs & dates).  In the finish, there’s a pleasant fireside smokiness that makes this wine super rich.

Suggested Food Pairings: This is a well-balanced wine with tannins that become less prominent as you enjoy with grilled meat.  Krystina’s pick – Meatballs, Osso Bucco or Lamb Shanks “I’m the Queen of Lamb Shanks!”  Her recipe was so rudimentary (a bottle of wine, lamb, onions, tomato paste & root vegetables all into a crock pot for hours ), that I found detailed one for you to try below.

Cellaring: This wine was made to cellar.  You will note that the back label has all of the technical details about the wine that you possibly need & learn from!

Lock, Stock & Barrel VQA 2012, $34.00

Membership has its benefits!  This wine is sold out, however magically, you have a bottle in your hands…make that THE last bottle!  This experimental blend of 32% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Cabernet Franc, 11% Petit Verdot & a splash of Malbec (about 9%) is a unique wine for Rosewood.  Never been made before & never will be the same again!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Krystina explains, “separately, the grapes don’t do much on their own, but when blended together, the wine is incredible.” BIG BIG BIG red wine loaded with layers of everything black – black fruit (black berries, black cherries, black figs & dates), dark chocolate, even espresso.  With grape varieties like these, there are tannins, but as you will find, they are delicious, luscious & silky.  Can’t you tell that our Savvy Sommeliers love this wine?!?!

Suggested Food pairings: Fire up the BBQ – enough said! 

Cellaring: Believe it or not, this wine is delicious now.  It will continue to get even better if you have the will power to wait.  Has the cellaring power of 5-15 years.  You read that right!




With Rosewood Select Sémillon…

Cartagena Ceviche

Taste & Travel Magazine – January 2015 issue
Since this dish does not involve any cooking, use the freshest seafood you can find at your local fish monger.


½ lb shrimp, shelled & deveined
½ lb calamari, cleaned & cut into bit size pieces
1 lb white fish, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 cups freshly squeezed lime juice
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice small red onion, thinly sliced
1 hot green chile pepper, chopped (optional)
½ cup red bell pepper, diced
1 tsp salt (or amount to taste)
½ cup freshly chopped cilantro
saltine crackers


Wash the seafood in cold water, drain and place in bowl. Add the salt and 1 cup of the lime juice.  Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Drain the fish, discarding the lime juice. Add the onion, chile, red pepper, cilantro, orange juice and remaining lime juice. Season with more salt if needed

Serve in small bowls or martini glasses with saltine crackers.



With Origins Cabernet Franc…

Braised Lamb Shanks

from Chef Michael Smith’s Cookbook – 100 of my Favorite Easy Recipes 


2 or 3 Tbsp olive oil
4 large lamb shanks
2 onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced bay leaves
2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 can (5.5 oz) tomato paste
1 bottle of Amarone (seriously though… drink the Amarone & cook with a big flavourful red wine – Zinfandel, Shiraz or Merlot)
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup chopped fresh parsley


Preheat the oven to 300F

Splash the olive oil into a Dutch oven & heat over medium-high heat. Add the shanks in the pan and brown thoroughly – turning once or twice until all of the sides are golden brown & caramelized.   Transfer to a plate.

Into the large pot used for the Dutch oven, add onions, carrots and garlic. Sauté until soften and lightly browned (about 10 minutes).  Toss in the bay leaves & rosemary.  Spoon in the tomato paste and pour in the wine. Stir everything together, nestle the lamb shanks into the rich sauce.  Bring liquid to a boil, then cover tightly and transfer into your oven.  Braise until the meat is tender (about 90 mins)

Carefully transfer the shanks to a platter. Cover them with foil and keep warm them warm in the oven while you finish the sauce.

Place the pot over medium-high heat and boil until the braising broth reduces to a sauce-like consistency (about 5 minutes). Stir the parsley. Pour over the sauce over the lamb shanks.

rosewood in winter

With Lock, Stock & Barrel…

Hanger Steaks with Worcestershire Marinade

from Friday Night Dinner Cookbook, by Bonnie Stern

Excerpt from cookbook:

I discovered hanger steak when I went to Las Vegas to speak at a conference. I didn’t like Las Vegas that much, but I loved the hanger steak at L’Atelier, Joel Robuchon’s “downscale” restaurant. (When I was there, there were two Joel Robuchon restaurants in Las Vegas. One was expensive – the one I went to – and the other was really expensive.)

Hanger steak is a favorite of butchers. Traditionally it’s the cut they got to take home because it was considered too ordinary for customers. But like flank steak, flat-iron steak, skirt steak and tri-tip, it is really tender and delicious if cooked rare and thinly sliced, and it is becoming very popular.

This marinade is my version of one from Cumbrae Butchers in Toronto. Be sure to ask your butcher to split the steak and remove the “seam.” (You will have two pieces from hanger steak – one larger and one smaller.) If you can’t find hanger steak, use flank steak, or even a sirloin will work brilliantly


1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 lb. hanger steak


In a small bowl, combine paprika, salt, pepper, garlic, Worcestershire and oil. Rub into steak. Marinate in refrigerator until ready to cook.

Grill thicker part of steak for about 5 minutes per side and thinner part for 3 minutes per side, or until a meat thermometer registers 125 to 130°F (52 to 54°C) for medium-rare. You can also sear the steak in a lightly oiled hot, heavy pan for 1 to 2 minutes per side. Finish cooking in a 425°F (220°C) oven for 7 to 10 minutes, or until medium-rare.

Let steak rest for a few minutes before carving thinly on the diagonal.


Bon Appetite & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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