Savvy Selections – featuring Konzelmann Estate Winery
Canada’s Wineries delivered to your doorstep
Read how this Niagara winery continues the family tradition of winemaking stemming back to Germany for four generations below.
The tradition is deeply rooted in heritage and respects the quality and winemaking styles of the Old World that shows through in the three bottles we selected for this month’s Savvy Selections:
- Barrel Aged Merlot VQA
- Riesling Grand Reserve Classic VQA
- Special Select Late Harvest Vidal VQA
- Gewurztraminer Reserve VQA
Our tasting panel of Sommeliers selected these particular wines as they are ready now and would be easy drinking wines to uncork during the holiday season. Keep them handy and ready to serve with hors d’oeuvres, to unwind after a full day of shopping or to simply sip on as you relax by the tree.
If you would like to order additional wines from Konzelmann or wines from other featured wineries in the Savvy Selections, simply contact us to organize a shipment for you.
Here’s to another great year together discovering Canadian wines with the Savvy Selections!
-Debbie and the Savvy Team
Konzelmann Estates Winery
presented by Savvy Sommelier Wayne Walker
In 1893, Friederich Konzelmann, restaurateur and winemaker, founded an Estate Winery near Stuttgart, Germany. Herbert, his great grandson, continued this tradition in Germany until the early 1980’s when he moved to Niagara, Ontario. In his travels, Herbert recognized that Niagara had an Alsatian-like micro-climate in the Lake Ontario area and saw the opportunity to continue the Konzelmann in the growing Niagara wine region.
The new Konzelmann property in Niagara was originally an orchid of 2500 plus peach trees. Herbert recognized that there was potential in the soil to offer soft minerality and warm tropical flavour to wine grapes. Today, the 83 acres has been transformed into vineyards that boasts 17 different grape varieties producing upwards of 40,000 cases of award winning wines each year.
Herbert and his winemaking assistant, Eric Pearson, are focused on producing low yielding grapes (winespeak: low yields means that the grapes have concentrated flavours) and high quality premium wines. Old vines, thinned out three times a season, contribute towards achieving this goal. Vertical vine training (a method of trimming and growing vines in a more vertical linear fashion than in a bush-like design) helps to enhance sun exposure, ripening conditions and sugar and flavour intensities. These wines are proudly named “The Winemaster’s Collection”.
Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Vidal are some of the varietals that thrive at Konzelmann. As Bruno Reis, Director of Operations explains, “This is where our penchant for Alsatian and Burgundian styles of wines comes from. The natural growing conditions and grape varietals have a direct impact on our winemaking methods.”
Certainly Eric’s knowledge of Italian winemaking coupled with Herbert’s German background (including his expertise with Icewines) are a winning combination that is enjoyed in all Konzelmann wines.
This international expertise can be contributed to why Konzelmann wines have an international market, being sold not only in Ontario but extensively in California, Texas, New York, Japan and Korea.
Konzelmann’s signature wines are white. The Reserve Gewurztraminer and Grand Reserve Riesling – both are included in your Savvy Selections this month. As for red, Pinot Noir and Merlot lead the pack while Vidal Icewine is the coup d’etat in the dessert category.
Konzelmann wines can be placed in existing styles of winemaking, but the fact remains that wine from this Niagara estate on Lake Ontario struts character profiles of its own. Konzelmann whites show a fine acid balance while maintaining an unique, delicate, soft mineral and fruit flavour. Konzelmann reds show the effort that is spent enhancing textures and tannic structure on an existing fresh, elegant, fruity canvas. The result? – favour, flavour and balance. Extended fermentation time on the grape skins and in wood barrels assists in developing these signatures.
Bruno feels that if someone were to drink every wine in the Konzelmann portfolio, the Gewurztraminer would be the most memorable because “It tastes good, feels good and with its acidity, it matches well with food while showing no negative side effects. It is the role model of all the Estate wines. It’s a drink of integrity and character. Drink Konzelmann wine and everything is fine.”
Now that is a great way to toast the holidays!
~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~
Konzelmann Gewurztraminer Reserve VQA
Low yield and long ripening are evident with this wine. Considered as Konzelmann’s signature wine, it shows good weight and texture and solid aromatics. This wine is medium to full body and capable of carrying solid alcohol and good residual sugars, as evident in its delicious fruit flavours.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This straw gold, brilliant wine is very aromatic with stone fruits (can you find peaches, nectarines, apricots?), flower blossoms, lychee and other tropical fruit. Good acidity and fruit structure give balance to its elegant, long, stone fruit and tropical finish.
Suggested Food Pairing: Serve this wine chilled (about 8C) as a wonderful sipper or paired with a variety of white meats roasted or grilled, fish, soft cheeses or salty snacks. Try the Spiced Chicken Breasts with Pineapple and Grapefruit below to taste this wine come alive!
Cellaring: No need to wait…this wine is ready to drink now. It can cellar for up to 2 years at 12C.
Konzelmann Riesling Grand Reserve Classic VQA
Another great food wine with its thirst quenching acidity, its complex fruit profile and its delicate balance is enjoyed into the well-ripened creamy and elegant texture.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A favorite of the Savvy Selections tasting panel, this straw (with a greenish tinge – do you see this?) is a reflective wine with aromas of ripe pears, peaches and apricots on a canvas of ripe apple and lemon-lime. Full-bodied, the fruity flavors continue through onto the palate with tropical fruit, stone fruits and honey. A silky leather and green pear, apple aftertaste are connected by a subtle minerality on the finish.
Suggested Food Pairing: This wine is versatile and can be paired with many food styles. It shows very well with spicy Thai and Mexican cuisine because of its thirst quenching qualities. Even serve this wine with a fruit dessert, particularly a dessert featuring fruits found in the aroma and flavours of the wine. I offer (below) a luscious Roasted Pear recipe that would be perfect for holiday festivities. Enjoy!
Cellaring: Ready to be enjoyed now, yet will retain its intensity for up to 2 years if stored on its side in a cool location (12C-14C).
Konzelmann Merlot Barrel-aged VQA
The dry summer and cool fall of 2006 resulted in excellent ripening conditions rendering this Merlot ideal fruit concentrations and colours. This wine was not only aged (for 18 months) in French Oak (in case you are interested: from coopers in the Allier and Nevers regions of France), but some fermentation took place in barrels as well. This allowed the winemaker to enhance the tannic structure and the darker, riper fruit flavours of the wine during the active process of fermentation and the longer aging time. This contributes to its Bordeaux-style profile.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Dark ruby-red in colour, sporting the richness of blackberry jam, earth and oak, with a subtle bit of pepper, this wine is very soft and round with ripe berry fruit and spicy vanilla flavours on both the tongue and the medium finish. Good acidity gives it a surprising quality of thirst quench.
Suggested Food Pairing: Pasta, pasta and more pasta is what this wine screams out for! Make sure that the sauce is not overly creamy. Oven cooked beef (like roast beef, Beef Bourguignon) and chicken (Coq au Vin) would work well. A feast of chili and crusty bread or homemade pizza are perfect to enjoy this easy drinking wine.
Cellaring: This wine is drinking well now, yet, could certainly be cellared for 3 years or so (18C). As it ages, the fruit character will diminish. You may think that this is an issue as it is such a large part of its profile. Watch for any significant lightening of colour in storage as this will indicate waning of fruit profile.
Konzelmann Special Select Late Harvest VQA
Late Harvest wines usually identify a grape that has been harvested around the first frost of the year in late October or early November. The Vidal grape (interesting to note it is a hybrid grape variety), is typically left on the vine to be naturally frozen, then harvested for Icewine. Vidal is also a great grape for Late Harvest because of its thick skin and its ability to retain sugar and acidity against exposure to the harsh early winter elements.
The panel of Savvy Sommeliers was particularly impressed with this Special Select because its weight and texture gives you the impression of Icewine with its full bodied richness and long creamy finish. We hope you like it as much as we did.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The honey texture and colour of this luscious libation almost gives it an Ice Wine profile. Stone fruits and apple on the nose are consummated on the tongue with more honey, lychee, candied citrus and warm, ripe tropical fruit, leaving a ripe, fleshy peach, apricot and honey finish balanced by sweet lemon zest.
Suggested Food Pairing: GREAT on its own. Sip by the fireplace munching on your favourite roasted nuts, cheese, chocolate or holiday treat. Also consider serving to complement and enhance sweet, full-textured desserts as well.
Cellaring: With its great acidity this wine will store and please for quite a while, but Santa would be very disappointed if this gift lasted past January 1, 2009 – wink wink!
~ Recipes to enjoy with your Savvy Selections ~
With Konzelmann Gewurztramniner Reserve…
Spiced Chicken Breasts with Pineapple & Grapefruit
2 chicken breasts
mixed spice (no anise)
clear strained chicken stock
fresh grapefruit juice
fresh pineapple juice
butter or olive oil
In a saucepan, combine two fruit juices, stock, and spices and boil to a thick sauce.
Add a pad of butter to the sauce to give it a shine.
Pan fry the chicken breasts in butter or olive oil until firm. Cover as required.
Test periodically they are cooked throughout by testing that juices run clear when cut.
Serve the chicken breasts with the fruity sauce smothered over them. Perfect on a bed of steamed rice.
With Konzelmann Riesling Grand Reserve Classic…
Festive Pear Pairs
4 firm ripe pears – pealed, sliced in half & cored
¼ c. brown sugar, packed
¼ tsp. ground ginger or ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup coarsely crumbled ginger snaps
1 cup havarti or old cheddar cheese, shredded
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream
Preheat oven to 400F. Butter a shallow 8 cup square or oval baking dish.
Place pears cut side up in baking dish, sprinkle with sugar, ginger, lemon juice and toss to combine. Spread evenly. Roast for about 25 minutes or until pears are almost tender and starting to brown.
In a bowl, combine cookie crumbs and cheese. Sprinkle evenly over pears.
Roast for 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted or pears are tender.
Serve warm topped with whipping cream or ice cream. Serve yourself a glass of chilled Classic Riesling.
With Konzelmann Barrel-Aged Merlot…
Sweet Beef Curry
1 onion, sliced
1 apple, peeled and sliced
1 banana, sliced
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp fig jam or orange marmalade
3 to 4 cups of lean roast beef cut into bite sized pieces
½ c. of water
1 beef stock cube
Fry onion in butter until softened.
Add curry powder and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add apple, cook for 2 minutes. Add banana, cook for 1 or 2 minutes.
Add sugar and jam and cook for 5 minutes. Add meat, water and crumbled stock cube and simmer, stirring until thick. May be served alone or on rice.
With Konzelmann Special Select Late Harvest…
2 peaches, ripe, but not soft
2-3 Tsbp Butter
3 Tsbp brown sugar
vanilla ice cream
Cut peaches in half. Melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and stir.
Add peaches. Cook until fairly warm and starting to soften, about 1 minute. Flip and cook an additional 30 seconds.
Add rum to taste and swirl in pan.
Use a long lighting instrument, pass over the pan as alcohol evaporates and light contents of pan. Allow flame to die down and sauce to thicken, slightly.
Remove and serve over ice cream. Yum!
If you would like to order wines from Konzelmann or wines from other featured wineries from us, simply contact us to organize a shipment for you.