Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Southbrook Vineyards
– May 2015 –
I don’t know where to start… This month we are featuring Southbrook Vineyards of Niagara-on-the-Lake & they have quite a story to tell. I’ll admit that I was first introduced to Southbrook with a sip of their Framboise raspberry wine. Fruit wine you say – yes! As the expression goes…’you have come a long way baby!’ Southbrook is now less known for their fruit wine and they are more recognized for their commitment to biodynamic practices at every level in their business. They are also the only winery that we have featured in Savvy Selections who has appeared on Dragon’s Den….more about that on the following pages!
What is Biodynamic you ask?
“It’s extreme organics!” explains Southbrook’s winemaker Ann Sperling. Her vineyard & winemaking team creates wines that express the story both of the grapes & the ground that nourishes them. Mark our words, with each sip of any wine from Southbrook, you’ll taste their commitment to the biodynamic grape growing & winemaking practices. “We want people to taste the purity in the wines we make,” explained owner Bill Redelmeier.
In your Savvy Selections parcel you will find an amazing assortment from Southbrook:
Triomphe Chardonnay VQA 2013, $22.95 – an absolutely easy drinking Chardonnay with the refreshing fruit showing through interlaced with oak
Triomphe Cabernet Franc VQA 2013, $21.95 – fire up the BBQ!
Whimsy! Married Young VQA 2009 – $34.95 – this 6 year old wine has aged at the winery & is now ready for you to enjoy.
This selection shows that organic does not need to be expensive. Our Savvy Selections tasting panel were impressed with the quality & readiness of these wines. No need to cellar or decant, just twist the cap or pull the cork to enjoy fine Ontario wine. “I simply want people to say – these wines have character,” states Bill. Let us know what you think.
Read all about it in your Savvy eZine!
While you relax on your dock or deck chair waiting for your BBQ to warm up, flip through the following pages to learn more about biodynamic grape growing & winemaking (I promise not to get technical!), the winery’s fascinating architecture, our Savvy Sommeliers’ tasting notes & recipes provided from Southbrook’s kitchen.
Want more Southbrook wines?
You may have noticed a few Southbrook wines in the LCBO, yet there is so much more available through us or when you visit the winery. To stock up on any of the Savvy Selections wines, simply call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) to make a special delivery for you.
Cheers & Enjoy!
Presented by Sommelier Debbie Trenholm
“I think of wine like a talking stick”, shares Bill (right in picture). “You buy the wine because there is a story that you are eager to share with friends.” Bill & I have known each other for many years, yet during our phone conversation we commented that most of the time spent together was seeing each other at wine shows, in meetings at the winery or when Bill flies in to participate in a Savvy Taste & Buy event. “Let’s make a point to go out for beers next time we see each other”, we said in unison. It is a well-known fact that the drink of choice by most in the wine industry is beer!
After a few beers I will endeavor to real dirt about Bill’s experience on Dragon’s Den in 2012. He explained the audition process and how one hour of filming with 8 cameras was unnerving enough then boiled down into 5 quick minutes we see on TV. “Over 9,000 people audition and 200 pitches were selected to go before the Dragons,” explains Bill. “I was really hoping that Arlene or Jim would say – I’m in!” While the winery was mentioned several times, Bill’s focus was on pitching Bioflavia –a health product used made from the dried and crushed skins of red grapes from their organic vineyards. This ‘wine waste’ contains high levels of natural and powerful antioxidants. Bioflavia can be added as an ingredient in smoothies, cooking or baking. “With the snap of Jim’s fingers, the dough of every Boston Pizza made could be enriched with a teaspoon of our product.” What happened in the Den? Click to watch the video>>
Bill & Marilyn are the driving force behind the winery’s organic and biodynamic practices. They are the first to tell you that they are fundamentally agriculturalists. Bill explained that his grandfather had a Jersey dairy farm in Richmond Hill. Growing up, he’d always been surrounded by farmers. Initially, Bill wanted to start an ice cream company using the rich Jersey milk from his grandfather’s dairy. The hurdle came when he discovered that his family’s milk could not be separated out from other Jersey farms – unlike a winery. Long story shortened, Bill shelved the ice cream idea and ventured into the winery business. “I wanted people to taste the terroir – the exact place where the fruit was grown.”
“We were drawn to biodynamics as it is a way to fully express the vineyard’s character in our wines. I did not want to make low end wines. There is no appeal or talking stick in making 2 buck chuck!”
If biodynamic is a new wine term for you, Southbrook’s winemaker Ann Sperling, puts it simply: ‘extreme organics’. Biodynamic agricultural promotes the ecological self-sufficiency and internal harmony of the land while taking into account the cycles of nature (ie. various stages of the moon) and there is a philosophical and spiritual aspect woven in too.
Our Sommelier Susan Desjardins (also a trained horticulturalist) explains more. Growing practices are quite similar to organic agriculture, but a specific calendar is followed to help determine when activities such as pruning and fertilizing should be undertaken in the vineyards. In addition, a variety of treatments are applied to the soil, generally using ingredients that are derived from plants or animals that are integral to the property. Other approaches include planting cover crops between the vines that attract beneficial insects and using lambs to ‘mow’ these areas. Southbrook has 80-90 ewes in their herd.
Southbrook is the first biodynamic winery in Canada. They keep company of other well-known wineries including Chapoutier and Domaine Leflaive of France. “Many of the wineries in the great wine regions of France are biodynamic”, Bill explains. “Like Southbrook, their wine labels do not herald their biodynamic certification. You can tell just by the taste that the wine has soul.”
What is in Bill & Marilyn’s cellar?
There’s about 1800 – 2000 bottles mainly old Bordeaux, ports and Chardonnay. “Nothing fancy to look at but it is well organized with IKEA shelving and like most cellars, there are always cases of wine on the floor.”
I’ll raise a glass to that! Enjoy your Savvy Selections.
Since 2008, all of the yeast used in the winemaking process is natural yeast. “We sold all of our commercial yeast and now use what is naturally in the air. Our vineyard is alive!” proudly explains Bill.
Made with Chardonnay grapes picked at various times throughout October from 5 different organic vineyards in Niagara.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Our tasting panel raved about this lively Chardonnay. Notes of fresh juicy peach, grapefruit & apples follow through into the taste with a hint of nutmeg & vanilla. A rich wine that is beautifully balanced, laced with subtle oak with a zip of acidity. The soul of the wine definitely shines through!
Suggested Food Pairing: This wine is simply delicious on its own (I am enjoying as I write this eZine!), with pork tenderloin, sushi, crabcakes or fish. The Savvy Selections tasting panel had so many good recipes to share and so did the winery, that we have not one…but three recipes that hit the mark! Peach Pizza, Sunshine Salmon & a unique recipe for Banana Leaf Tilapia with Lemon Beurre Blanc Egg Noodles.
Cellaring: Drinking well now or cellar 3-5 years.
Triomphe Cabernet Franc VQA 2013, $21.95
Ontario continues to impress us with Cabernet Franc wines. And this one is a fine example of how a big red wine can be made in a cold climate wine growing region. This wine contains 95% Cabernet Franc with a splash (5%) of Merlot to give it finesse.
Winemakers Tasting Notes: The wine presents a nose of red currant with notes of raspberry, savoury herbs and cedar wood. The palate echoes the fruit aromas supported by medium toast and firm tannins. The finish is of medium length and is driven by both fruit and savoury notes.
Note: our Savvy Selections panel tasted a different vintage, so the above notes are provided by the winery.
Suggested Food Pairing: Fire up the BBQ! Ribs, burgers or spring lamb chops would be a perfect pairing.
Cellaring: Ready now or can be cellared a further 3-5 years.
As you might imagine, there is no end to experimenting at Southbrook. The Whimsy label is where Ann and the winemaking team stretches their talent and winemaking techniques to play! Wines are made in small lot batches (so there are no big mistakes). On the label, each dab of paint represents a different varietal in the Southbrook palette to make an interesting design element that is…simply whimsical.
Winemaker Notes: This blend is 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Cabernet Franc. The juice of the two varieties were fermented separately, then blended prior to barrel aging (in French oak) in order to “marry” and create a wine of more complexity, depth and completeness. Released in February 2015 after several years aging at the winery. 138 cases were produced….and Savvy Selections subscribers took many of them!
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Gorgeous! A smooth, delicious deep red wine that has blackberry, boysenberry, black licorice, leather, cedar and forest floor (think of walking in the woods after a rain). Tannins have mellowed with age, with a zip of acidity that will smooth out with food (we tried it with old cheddar), and long lingering smoky finish.
Suggested Food Pairing: Beef, beef, and beef! If you are vegetarian, then grilled mushrooms will be delish!
Cellaring: Ready now, no need to wait any longer.
~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~
From Southbrook’s Kitchen
fresh peaches – from Niagara of course!
2 tbsp organic honey
½ tsp balsamic vinegar
Combine balsamic vinegar and organic honey with olive oil to taste. Stir until combined.
Half peaches and lightly brush with oil, to prevent sticking on the BBQ.
Place flesh side down on BBQ on medium heat for 5 minutes.
Brush flatbread with olive oil and kosher salt. Put on BBQ on medium heat for a couple minutes.
Remove peaches and flatbread.
Cut peaches onto the flatbread and sprinkle cheese onto pizza. Drizzle balsamic honey dressing on top.
Cook on top rack until cheese is melted. Remove and sprinkle chopped basil on top.
Cut and enjoy!
Another recipe to serve with
From Kitchen at Publix
2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
½ cup sweet white wine (or chicken broth)
4 (6-oz) salmon fillets, skin removed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 Tbsp orange marmalade
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Cut ½ orange into ¼ inch-thick slices (rounds), then cut slices into quarters. Squeeze remaining 1 ½ oranges for juice (about ½ cup).
Place wine, orange juice, garlic, dill, and orange slices in large sauté pan and cover; bring to a boil on medium-high. Reduce heat to low; simmer uncovered 7 minutes.
Check fish for bones. Season salmon on both sides with garlic seasoning and pepper. Add salmon to wine mixture; simmer 3–4 minutes on each side or until salmon is opaque and separates easily. Transfer salmon to serving dish.
Add marmalade and mustard to wine mixture; cook and stir 1 minute or until marmalade dissolves and sauce thickens. Remove pan from heat; stir in butter (being gentle while stirring, so fruit stays intact). Pour sauce over salmon & serve.
Even more recipes to serve with Triomphe Chardonnay!
Spicy BBQ’d Banana Leaf Tilapia with Lemon Beurre Blanc Egg Noodles
From Southbrook’s Kitchen
Ingredients for Tilapia
4 pieces of tilapia
4 pieces of banana leaves
¼ Spanish onion
3 cloves garlic
1 red chili
1 tsp tumeric
½ tsp sea salt & cracked pepper
2 stalks of lemon grass
1 Tbsp of vegetable oil
¼ cup butter
8 wood skewers
Ingredients for Lemon Beurre Blanc Egg Noodles
½ cup white wine
1 cup 35% cream
2 lemons – juiced
1 cup butter
4 pieces of baby bok choy
1 cup of sliced cherry tomatoes
Method for Banana Leaf Tilapia
Finely dice Spanish onion, garlic, red chili (seeds removed) and lemon grass. Add salt, pepper, tumeric, vegetable oil and butter. Mix well.
Place tilapia on the banana leaf and spread marinade over fish. Wrap the banana leaf around the tilapia and secure with skewers.
Heat one side of the BBQ to high. Place wrapped fish on direct heat. Sear 2 minutes per side and then move wrapped fish off direct heat and finish cooking for 10 minutes with BBQ closed. Should reach 375°F.
Method for Lemon Beurre Blanc Egg Noodles
In a large sauce pan, combine wine, cream and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer until ½ of the volume remains.
Add 1 cup of butter. Stir constantly. Sauce will thicken with the addition of butter. Continue stirring until desired consistency is reached.
In a separate pot, steam baby bok choy. At the same time, cook egg noodles. Drain noodles.
Add baby bok choy and uncooked, diced cherry tomatoes. Slowly add Beurre Blanc and stir. Serve with Banana Leaf Tilapia on top of the noodles.
BBQ Smoky Pork Ribs with Asian Slaw
Serves several rib lovers!
Ingredients for Ribs
1 side pork ribs
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, halved
1 to 2 litres beer
1 to 2 litres water
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp each salt & pepper
1 Tbsp Chinese five spice
1 tsp cloves
2 inches fresh ginger
1 cup homemade BBQ sauce
Method for Ribs:
Portion ribs into ‘four-rib’ pieces for easier cooking and serving.
Parboil the ribs for 2 hours in mixture of half water/half beer (enough of each to just cover the ribs), plus the onion, garlic, ginger, bay leaf and spices. Remove from pot and refrigerate for half and hour.
Leftover boiling mixture can be strained and reduced to make an amazing beef/pork stew stock!
Fire up the barbie! Cook ribs until done to your liking.
Ingredients for Slaw
½ head of Chinese cabbage, shredded
1 good sized carrot, grated
1 handful of sweet peas, julienned
3 green onions, julienned
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
fresh cilantro to garnish
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Toss with dressing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Ingredients for Dressing
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
¼ cup olive oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over slaw.
Enjoy your Savvy Selections!