Posts Tagged ‘accredit Sommelier Debbie Trenholm’

Cheers to Cool Craft Ciders!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
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There was a buzz this summer that was different from other summers.  It was the buzz about craft cider. Now available at grocery stores, the LCBO stocked shelves wide and high with different styles by local cider makers, and neat new ciders were taking over taps at restaurants.  No longer is the alternative for those who are not partial to wine or beer, craft cider becoming the new discovery for everyone.

Move over Somserby & Strongbow you have company. The Canadian hard cider industry has been growing since 1990s.  In the past 2-3 years, the market has exploded. The Ontario Craft Cider Organization (OCCA) says the demand for Ontario ciders has grown upwards of 60%.  Since 2013 and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) recently reported that Ontario cider sales have more than quadrupled over the last three years.Savvy_in-cider - cropped

Adding to that, this summer saw 60 Loblaw stores in Ontario who added ciders to their fridges that have recently been stocked with craft beer.

“With Loblaw’s commitment to Ontario Craft Cider products they are supporting not only the Ontario Craft Cider makers, but the Ontario farmers who grow the apples we use,” said Thomas Wilson, Chair of the OCCA. 

A research study conducted by The George Morris Centre at the University of Toronto projected that Ontario craft ciders have the potential to be a $35-million industry by 2018. Mark my word, the buzz will be getting louder.

Cideries are cropping up everywhere.  County Cider is the largest cidermaker near Ottawa.  “The County Cider Company was established in 1996.  Since then, the craft cider industry has exploded. We pride ourselves in growing our own apple cider varieties now create a unique range of ciders from  Traditional English Style Dry to sweeter flavoured ciders”, explains Jenifer Dean co-owner of County Cider Company located in Prince Edward County. 

And wineries are getting into it too.  Lighthall Vineyards in Prince Edward County, along with Tawse Winery, Ravine Vineyard and Vieni Estates in Niagara have all added hard apple cider alongside with their wine portfolio.  

 

So many ciders, where to start? 

With the dizzying abundance of craft ciders, it is only natural as a Sommelier, to dive in and discover all of the different styles and flavours. Classic hard apple cider, peach, pear and berry flavoured, even root beer cider, there is definitely a cider that will quench your thirst.  I discovered that we are on the brink of 100 different ciders made in Ontario.  With so many and so little time, Savvy Company has launched In-Cider Picks, a different assortment of Ontario made ciders each month during the summer that is delivered to your deck or dock.  This trumps going to the LCBO or the grocery store. Savvy Sommeliers have taken the guess work out of which of the many ciders to buy & hand delivering the best bottles for you.  If you missed In-Cider Picks this summer, be on the lookout for it next year!

“Making hard apple cider is a new venture for Tawse Winery. Savvy’s In-Cider Picks is an excellent way for our small batch craft cider get into the glasses of Ontario cider enthusiasts”, beams Paul Pender, principal winemaker for Tawse Winery.

This is not just a summer fling with cider, the buzz will continue year round. Here are some to give a try when you see them on the store shelves or call Savvy Company 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) to arrange for your special delivery.

 

~ 3 craft ciders you must try ~

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County Cider Blood Orange

Inspired during a trip to Normandy, France, this is a hard apple cider blended with blood orange juice and essences.  

An eye catching orange Lifesaver colour that looks more like a cocktail than cider. Each sip has refreshing tastes of mandarin with a tangy acidity like Starburst candy. Warning: you’ll want more than just one glass of this cider.     

Price: $6.90 (500mL bottle)

 

 

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Tortured Path Cider

For die-hard cider fans. Always quick to sell out at County Cider Co. shop in Prince Edward County, this is made in a Traditional British Dry Style made with bittersharp and bittersweet apple varieties that has been blended in with Gold Russet apples grown on farm. Bone dry with mineral tastes with constant stream of bubbles that your glass could be mistaken for French Champagne.

Price $7.95 (500mL bottle)

 

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Tawse Bottle Fermented Cider

Just released in July from a winery who has been named ‘Winery of the Year’ for the past 4 years by WineAlign, this vraft cider is their first foray expanding beyond winemaking.

Un-filtered and unpasteurized, this cider was aged on the lees (in contact with the yeast) to give it a complex and rich taste. Each sip will remind you of fresh-out-of-the- over homemade apple pie. Absolutely delicious.

Price: $14.95 (750mL bottle)

 

What to serve with craft cider?

Just like wine, the taste of craft cider can be augmented with certain foods.  Our Sommeliers would recommend to select foods that would not overpower the flavours found in the cider, so save the steak to enjoy with red wine and serve cider with steam seafood, grilled salmon, sushi, pork chops, salads loaded with fresh garden vegetables or hard cheeses, popcorn & kale chips….or simply on its own!

 

This article will appear in the 2016 fall issue of Ottawa Life Magazine

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ANNOUNCING: Savvy In-Cider Picks

Posted by Debbie

Friday, July 29th, 2016
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We just made this summer even more refreshing with the launch of the first-of-its kind Savvy In-Cider Picks delivering Ontario craft cider right to your doorstep.

According to recent reports, a growing number of cider lovers in Ontario are reaching for this tasty beverage. The Ontario Craft Cider Organization (OCCA) says the demand for Ontario ciders has grown upwards of 60% since 2013 and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) recently reported that Ontario cider sales have more than quadrupled over the last three years.

Expanding to include cider is a natural move…

We are known for our wine, craft beer and artisan cheese expertise. Savvy In-Cider Picks is a ground breaking way for cider enthusiasts to access stellar ciders produced in Ontario.

Savvy_in-cider - cropped

“Our customers have been asking about craft cider & the cider industry is blossoming.  With the growing popularity of ciders we thought we’d bring the two together to create Ontario’s first cider club,” said Debbie Trenholm, founder and president of Savvy Company. “We take every opportunity to wave the Canadian flag, so launching Savvy In-Cider Picks will be good for our customers and local cider producers too.”

A research study conducted by The George Morris Centre at the University of Toronto projected that Ontario craft ciders have the potential to be a $35-million industry by 2018.

Only available during the summer

Savvy In-Cider picks will be available July and August.  Cider enthusiasts across Ontario can order a one-off parcel or they can subscribe for all three months.  Each shipment will contain up to 12 assorted bottles of varying sizes of seasonal creations and small batch ciders. None of the featured ciders are available at the LCBO. To further the enjoyment, customers will receive the In-Cider Scoop Magazine that includes a behind-the-scenes interview with the featured apple growers and cidery owners along with summertime recipes to enjoy with the ciders.

Savvy In-Cider Picks can be ordered online at www.savvycompany.ca/cider or by calling the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926).   

Jennifer Dean at County Cider“The County Cider Company was established in 1996 and recently the craft cider industry has exploded. We pride ourselves in growing our own apple cider varieties now create a unique range of ciders from  Traditional English Style Dry to sweeter flavoured ciders, explains Jenifer Dean (in left photo) co-owner of County Cider Company located in Prince Edward County.  “We have been long-time partners of Savvy Company, so to be showcased in their new Savvy In-Cider Picks is a natural fit.” 

“Making hard apple cider is a new venture for Tawse Winery. Savvy’s In-Cider Picks is an excellent way for our small batch craft cider get into the glasses of Ontario cider enthusiasts”, beams Paul Pender, principal winemaker for Tawse Winery in Niagara.

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Savvy Company specializes in creative social experiences – whether making the enjoyment of wine accessible to all, exploring the worlds of craft beer or discovering artisan cheeses.  Their team of accredited Sommeliers delight in shining the spotlight on the people who make them.  Savvy Selections wine-of-the-month club has grown to be the largest featuring hard-to-find Ontario wines not available in the LCBO.   

Savvy Hip Hops was Ontario’s first craft beer-of-the-month club and is rapidly growing in popularity.  The recently launched Savvy Cool Curds features hand made cheeses from across Canada not readily at grocery stores.  Savvy In-Cider Picks is a summer- only of- the-month club and everyone in the Savvy Team can hardly wait to see the success this program receives.

Visit www.savvycompany.ca or follow @SavvyCompany on Twitter.

Media Contact:
Debbie Trenholm
Founder & Sommelier
Savvy Company
debbie@savvycompany.ca
@savvydebbie (Twitter)
@savvycompanyinc (Instagram)
613.SAVVYCO (613.728.8926)

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Beat the heat bevvies

Posted by Debbie

Monday, July 11th, 2016
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Question: What drink make you think of summer?

A) Refreshing Rosé
B) Mouth-watering Cider
C) Cold Radler Beer
D) Big bold Cabernet
E) Fruity Sangria
F) All of the above!

This is a multiple choice quiz that none of us can get wrong! With more sun-filled days, long weekends and lazy afternoons lounging on your deck or dock, summer brings more time to relax & unwind with a glass in your favorite beat-the-heat bevvy.

To help you shift from winter warming drinks to summer sippers, here are some tips from our team of Savvy Sommeliers & Brew Crew:

 

Fielding RoseFielding Estate Rosé VQA 2015

from: Niagara, Ontario

Nothing says summer like a glass of chilled Rosé wine. There are plenty to choose from all parts of the world, ranging in colour from a hint-of-pink to bright candy floss. With a sip, you will discover tastes from bone dry to a touch of sweetness.   To tip you off on just one Rosé to buy is difficult. When the Savvy Sommeliers got together for our spring kick-off, we were impressed with Fielding’s Rosé wine. A soft pink colour with aromas and tastes that will remind you of ripe strawberries and rhubarb. It’s a lovely wine that will be delicious with fish (poached or grilled), prosciutto wrapped asparagus, lemon roasted chicken, corn chowder or even a summer salad.

$15.95 per bottle available at the LCBO all summer long.

County Cider Pear bottle shotCounty Cider Co. Pear Cider

from: Prince Edward County, Ontario

County Cider Company is a family-run operation that has been crafting ciders in The County since 1995 – long before the region became known for its wines. The Pear Cider was inspired when the cidery owners Jenifer & Grant Howes visited Normandy, France – an area renowned for Cavardos (Pear and Apple Brandy). For this summer sipper, pear juice has been blended with carefully selected apple cider – for a dry, delicious quench thirsting summer drink.

$7.95 per bottle – available when you visit The County this summer or contact Savvy Company to deliver some to your doorstep.

radler-can_2048x2048Kichesippi Brewery Radler

from Ottawa, Ontario

Last summer, it seemed that every craft brewery was making a Radler! They are not a new creation, rather a resurgence of a summertime beer that was first introduced in Deisenhofen, Germany back in 1922. Intentionally made to be lower in alcohol (typically 3%), this is a great beer to enjoy during lunch on the patio, or to pop into your panier to quench your thirst during a bike ride. Kichesippi’s Radler is a blend of their lager with grapefruit soda. Be sure to try plenty of Radlers this summer to find your favorite.

$2.85 per can – available at the LCBO throughout Ottawa only for the summer.

 

13th Street Meritage13th Street Estate Winery Meritage VQA 2012

from Twenty Valley (Niagara), Ontario

A powerhouse red blend of 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot & 33% Cabernet Franc. Get out your largest wine glasses as this BIG red wine is begging to be served with anything off the BBQ. Think thick steak, lamb chops, spicy sausages with loads of fresh grilled veggies. A very special wine as only 220 cases were made. Every sip will remind you of black cherry, dark chocolate , black plum with a dash of fresh ground pepper and warm spices (think cloves, Chinese 5 Spice & steak spice). At $34.95 per bottle, this extra special wine is only available when you visit the winery this summer. Alternatively, subscribe to Savvy Selections wine-o-month club & the wine will auto-magically arrive at your home or office.

 Summer won’t last forever, so mix it up with a pitcher of sangria. Whether you make it with red wine or take a new approach and use white wine, this fruit ladened cocktail make your summertime Happy Hour, even happier!

 

Debbie’s Secret recipe for Sangria

from Debbie’s kitchen to yours…

Photo from www.goodtaste.tv

Makes 1 large pitchersangria-3

1 bottle of red wine (select something under $18…afterall you will be adding fruit to it!)
10 to 15 strawberries, sliced
A handful of blackberries
1 lemon, sliced & quartered
1 lime, sliced & halved
1 orange, sliced & quartered
½ of a tin of frozen Five Alive juice concentrate
½ to a full can of Club Soda or 7-Up (optional – if you want a little spritz to your sangria. 7-Up will make your sangria sweeter.)

Place fruit into a large pitcher or jug. Pour in Five Alive concentrate, club soda or 7-Up (if using). Fill with red wine. Stir until well mixed. Chill in fridge for 1 hour before serving to let the fruit marinate. Pour into a tall glass with lots of ice. Garnish with a slice of fruit on the rim. Enjoy.

 

Love Rosé wines? You’ll love this…

bouquet-of-rosesWe make it easy to Clink & Drink Pink! Each month throughout the summer, our Savvy Sommeliers will select a different assortment of six Rosé wines from across Ontario. These are extra special as you won’t find them at the LCBO.

Order a small bouquet (a parcel of 6 different Rosé wines) or a full bouquet (a parcel containing 12 bottles – 2 of each of the featured Rosé wines).

There is a different bouquet of Rosés each month!

Next to the taste, the best part of this new way to buy hard-to-find rosé wines is free shipping.

Order yours or give as a gift at www.savvycompany.ca/rose

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Enjoying The County is even easier…

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016
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The countdown is on!  County in the Capital Taste & Buy  is happening in a few days! Just imagine….100+ wines, craft beers, ciders along with lots of artisan cheese & gourmet goodies all made by the cool folks from Prince Edward County will be available for you to try…and buy!

Check out who is coming from The County…

401 Cidery & Brewery * Barley Days Brewery * Black River Cheese Company * Broken Stone Winery * Casa-Dea Estates Winery * Clafeld Cider House * Cressy Mustard Co * County Cider Co* Cured Smokehouse * Devils Wishbone Winery Emerson Pringle Carpentry * Harwood Estate Winery * Half Moon Bay Winery * Huff Estates Winery * Karlo Estates Winery * Keint-He Winery * Lighthall Vineyards & Dairy * Stanners Vineyard * Three Dog Winery * Trail Estate Winery * Traynor Family Vineyard
Waupoos Estates Winery

Derek Barnett and SherryEven our long time Savvy friend Derick Barnett – who was the winemaker at Lailey Vineyards & is now the winemaker for Karlo Estates – will be there serving his latest County creations.

Scroll down a bit further to see ALL that is in store for you to try at County in the Capital.

Get ready to shop & stock up!

The wines, craft beers & ciders that will be served at County in the Capital are not available at the LCBO or The Beer Store.  So this is the event to sip your way around the room, find new favorites & place your order.  To make it as easy as possible, we will hand deliver your parcel to your home or office by courier – for FREE.  Yes $0.

Our Savvy Team will be working around the clock to get your order to you lickety split so that you can enjoy them at home…even while you plan your next getaway to The County. To get you started, here’s our recent list of 100+ things to do in the area.

Cropped Prince-Edward-County-Sign-300x225
Can’t make it to this event? Order online…

We make it easy for you to discover The County.  Place an order online at www.savvycompany.ca/thecounty & we’ll ship anywhere in Ontario…for FREE. 

Featured Cideries…

401 Cider BrewerySavvy Company glass low res

Black Currant Cider $3.25/bottle
Peach Cider $3.25
Orchard Blend  $3.25
Caramel Apple $14.50

Clafeld Cider House

Smashed Apple Cider $13.95/6-pack

County Cider Co.

County Premium Cider $6.95
Pear Cider $7.95
Blood Orange Cider $7.95
Waupoos Cider 4-pack $13.95

2013 Barrel-Aged Ice Cider $50.00

Featured Brewery…

Barley Days Brewery 

Black Lager $3.00
Black IPA $3.00
Harvest Gold $3.00
Loyalist Lager $3.00
Wind & Sail $3.00
Cherry Porter $6.25
Scrimshaw Oyster Stout $6.25

Featured Wineries…

Broken Stone Winery 

2015 Simplicity $15.00
2015 Riesling $20.00
2015 Cab Franc $20.00
2014 Pinot Noir $25.00
2014 Pinot Noir Reserve $35.00
Futures Wines – min 6 bottle order will be shipped to you after May  30
2015 Chardonnay  $15.00 (reg $18.00)

Casa-Dea Estates Winery

2015 Dea’s Cuvee Sparkling $18.95
2014 Pinot Grigio $18.95
2014 Gamay $15.95
2011 Cabernet Franc Reserve $24.95

Devils Wishbone Winery

2014 Wicked White $18.00
2015 Devils Riesling $20.00 (reg $24.00)
2015 Pinot Gris Rose $19.00 (reg $ 22.00)
2014 Incarnate Red $18.00
2012 Pinot Noir $29.00

Half Moon Bay Winery

2014 Riesling $16.00
2014 Unoaked Chardonnay $18.00
2013 Merlot $24.00
2012 Pinot Noir $25.00

Harwood Estate Winery

2014 Pinot Gris $18.00
2014 Windward White $18.00
2012 Admiral’s Blend $20.00
2014 Gamay Noir $25.00

Huff Estates Winery

2011 Cuvée Peter F Huff Sparkling $30.00 (reg $40.00)
2014 Kosher Riesling Off Dry $22.00 (reg $25.00)
2013 Gamay $25.00
2014 South Bay Chardonnay $30.00
2013 Pinot Noir Reserve $30.00

Karlo Estates Winery

2013 Chardonnay CHOA $25.00
2013 Three Witches $26.00
2013 Lake on the Mountain Riesling $22.00
2013 Merlot $24.00
2013 Triumvirate $36.00
2013 Nebbiolo  $39.00
2013 VanAlstine White Port $45.00
2013 VanAlstine Red Port $45.00
Future Wines – min 6 bottle order will be shipped to you after May 24 
2015 Pinot Gris PEC $25.00 show (reg $29.00)
2015 Lake on the Mountain Riesling PEC $25.00 (reg $29.00)

Keint-He Winery & Vineyard

2013 Frost Road Chardonnay $25.00
2014 Portage Rosé $18.00
2013 Portage Pinot Noir $30.00
2012 Queenston Road Pinot Noir $30.00

Lighthall Vineyards

2013 Progression $20.00
2014 Pinot Gris $25.00
2014 Chardonnay $25.00
2014 Pinot Noir $30.00

Stanners Vineyard

2014 Pinot Gris $25.00
2014 Chardonnay $30.00
2012 Pinot Noir Four Mile Creek $30.00
2013 Pinot Noir PEC $35.00

Three Dog Winery 

2014 Riesling $17.95
2014 Pinot Grigio $19.95
2013 Dog House Red $14.95
2014 Gamay $17.95

Trail Estate Winery

2014 Riesling $20.00 (reg $23.95)
2013 Barrel-Aged Chardonnay $32.00
2014 Pinot Noir Rosé $21.95
2014 Gamay Noir $25.95

Traynor Family Vineyard

2014 Pinot Gris 2014 $24.95
2013 Chardonnay 2013 $24.95
2015 Sauvignon Blanc $24.95
2014 Sauvignon Blanc $29.95
2015 Rose $24.95
2013 Alta Red $24.95

Waupoos Estates Winery 

2014 Honey Suckle $11.95
2012 Auxerrois $16.95
2011 Merlot $16.95
2014 Baco Cabernet $21.95

How to Order?

Click here to order online or call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)
All orders need to be placed by April 24th.

FREE shipping by courier is on all orders of any combination of 6, 12 or more bottles.

order form

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Neat Easter Treats

Posted by Debbie

Friday, March 25th, 2016
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Ahhh, it’s the lonnnnnng weekend. Time to chill out, relax with family & friends.  Here are the top picks of ‘neat Easter treats’ of wine & craft beer from our team of Savvy Sommeliers & Brew Crew – all locally made & available at the LCBO.   Use this as your shopping list so you can spend less time figuring out what to buy & more time enjoying the weekend.

I’ll drink to that!

 

Savvy Sommelier Top Picks
for Easter long weekend


MacKinnon Brothers Brewery Crosscut Canadian Ale

Bath, Ontario
$2.85 per can (LCBO #414870)

MacKinnon Brothers Brewery - CrosscutThis 5.2% Alcohol by volume (ABV), 15 International Bitterness Units (IBU) Golden Ale is the MacKinnon Brothers’ rendition of a traditional Canadian ale. They use Herkules and Sassasprat hops and add a portion of wheat from their farm to the grain bill. This beer starts with a sweet malt smell and an upfront cereal flavour and subtle honey flavour. The hops kick in mid-sip with a subtle herbal note before being washed away in a wave of carbonated crispness. This may have been designed to be an easy drinking, sessionable beer, but there’s a wonderful layered flavour that will make you pause after each sip. With a strong malt bill and palate cleansing scrubbing bubbles (a good carbonation level), Crosscut can sit alongside spicy chili, roast duck, BBQ ribs, sticky chicken or braised beef.

 

Barley Days Loyalist LagerBarley Day’s Loyalist Lager

Prince Edward County, Ontario
$2.00 per bottle (LCBO#286526)

Brewed in the Czech Pilsner style with Saaz hops, this 4.5% ABV beer is easy to drink no matter who your allegiance is to. Starts slightly sweet with some caramel, grain and cereal notes, but with a slight earthy/spice hop flavour. There’s a nice balance between the hops and malt which makes this light bodied lager crisp and easy to drink. Serve alongside roast of ham, chicken, seafood….or lots of appetizers!

Beau’s Le Coeur Noir Black IPA

VanKleek Hill, Ontario
$7.95 (LCBO #442533)

beaus coeur noirThis beer is the 11th in Beau’s Pro-Am Series which features beers that are designed by amateur brewers, and brewed at Beau’s. Le Coeur Noir Black IPA was brewed in collaboration with the winner of the 2013 Toronto Beer Week Homebrew Contest, Jordan Rainhard. This 7.1% abv beer is one of Beau’s cutting styles, an American Black IPA.  It pours with an opaque brown hue and shows pronounced notes of black molasses, spruce tips, cacao nibs, roasted malt and touch of grapefruit rind.  The mouthfeel is rich and full bodied with a long grapefruit pith finish.  Christening the BBQ this weekend? Enjoy this beer with a burger – beef, bison, elk – with a slice of blue cheese on top.  Blue cheese is an incredible example of pairing an assertive style of beer with an assertive style of food. (If you are a subscriber of our Savvy Cool Curds cheese-o-month-club, some of the Back Forty Highland Blue treat we sent this month will be PERFECT! the trick!)

 

Domaine Félibre Givré Ice Cider 2012

Domaine Félibre Givré Ginger Ice Cider

Québec
$19.95 (Vintages #393611) 6.5% alcohol

This was a flyer and I really liked it! A Gold Medal winner at the 2015 Berlin International Wine Competition soothes with its fresh ginger, honey & ice cider combination. Not too powerful in flavour nor too sweet either. This ice cider is refreshing and flavourful. WOW your guests with it as an on arrival drink, after or after a meal. Chill & serve it straight up, over ice or mixed with sparkling wine.

 

 

Fielding Gewürztraminer VQA 2013Fielding Gewürztraminer 2012

Niagara, ON
$18.95 (Vintages #146753)  12.5% alcohol

Everything Fielding’s winemaker Richie Roberts makes seems to turn to gold. This yummy Gewürztraminer will get your heart racing with its spring-like aromas and flavours. Floral aromas combined with candied ginger and tropical fruit tastes (think mangos, kiwi) make this a well balanced and delicious medium bodied white wine. Chill and sip while you make dinner or serve with something spicy like Phad Thai, Indian curry or Mexican dish.

 

Creekside Estate Queenstown Road Pinot Noir VQA 2014Creekside Estate Queenston Road Pinot Noir 2014

VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$18.95 (Vintages #415877) 12.5% alcohol

Great things grow along that Queenstown Road, even if the vineyards are situated some 105 metres above sea level. Cherry and cranberry aromas and tastes, smooth as silk on the palate, medium bodied weight and tannins with some beloved St. David Bench earthiness and minerality on the spine of this red wine. For Pinot lovers, don’t miss out.

 

Peller Estates Private Reserve Gamay Noir 2013Peller Estates Private Reserve Gamay Noir VQA 2013

VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula
$19.95 (Vintages #444745) 13.3% alcohol

In 2012 and 2013 Peller Estates vintages won the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines. The 2012 also won a Gold Medal from Wine Align’s National Wine Awards of Canada 2014, Silver Medal from the International Wine & Spirit Competition UK 2014, and Silver Medal from the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirit Competition 2014. How’s that for credentials?

 

Lakeview Cabernet Franc Icewine 2013Lakeview Cabernet Franc Icewine 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$29.95 (Vintages #53397) 11% alcohol

How sweet it is! Like bubbles, nothing makes an evening or occasion more festive than having a finale with ice wine. Aromas of red roses, tastes of ripe red and black currants, strawberries at their peak, with just enough acidity to keep you going back. Elegant and refined and plain delicious, it’s desert on its own but with some strong stinky cheese it would be over the top.

 

 

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Cabernet is King!

Posted by Debbie

Friday, February 28th, 2014
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Last weekend’s Academy Awards shone the spotlight on the top movies, actors & directors of the year.  While at the LCBO, they have crowned Cabernet Sauvignon as ‘King’ of their latest release.   I tried several from every point across the globe & was impressed by many.  Also impressed by the differences.  Typically we think of Cabernets as knock your socks off red to enjoy with steak & prime rib.  While the ones that I tasted made a statement, they ranged from medium to full bodied, were elegant, well balanced & made a good impression.  No doubt in my mind that they would be enhanced with food from BBQed pork chops to Sunday roasts with all of the trimmings.

And drinking only Cabernets – or many red wines for that matter – will turn your lips & teeth purple, I have added to my shopping list some white wines & other interesting reds to add to your shopping cart.

OLCBO cover March 1 2014h…and you may be surprised to see that the LCBO is shining the spotlight on wines from Israel. Mark my words – you will see more.  Five years ago, I was invited by the Embassy of Israel in Ottawa to join the first media tour of Canadian wine writers.  We were impressed by the incredible wineries that we visited & the HUGE wines that we tasted.  Now it is your turn to pick up a bottle & explore. Don’t by shy because it is labelled Kosher – this does not impact the taste, only the winemaking process.  All 6 wines from Israel in this release were good – splurge & you too will be impressed.

Cheers!
-Debbie

 

If I only had a $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages
February 28th, 2014

 

Wingspan Sauvignon BlancWingspan Sauvignon Blanc

New Zealand
$17.95 (Vintages 365403) 13% alcohol

This is springtime in a glass.  Classic Sauvignon Blanc – cut grass (do you remember that smell after this long hard winter?), fresh herbs (thyme & mint) combined with aromas & tastes of white flowers & citrus fruits. This will melt away all thoughts of winter.  Enjoy with spring roasted chicken or fresh asparagus.

 

Apollonio SquinzanoApollonio Squizano

Italy, Puglia
$17.95 (Vintages 362475)  14% alcohol

If you don’t speak Italian nor have 20/20 eyesight you will miss this wine all together! I have never seen a label with font so small….and it is all in Italian! Ask any LCBO Product Consultant (look for those with a gold badge) and say that you are looking for the ‘Squizzy’ wine, they will apparently know exactly what you are looking for.  This Nebillio red wine is my new favorite.  Apparently this winery releases frequently into Vintages incredible red wines under $20.  Big, loaded with black fruit and a long finish.  Be on the lookout for this wine from this lesser known Italian wine region 

Cedarcreek Cab MerlotCedarCreek Estates Cabernet Merlot

Okanagan Valley, BC
$24.95 (Vintages 175604) 13.9% alcohol

What?!?! Under $25 for this medium to full red wine from British Columbia – how can this be so? Loaded with red & black fruit, this wine deserves to be served with beef tenderloin, Sunday roast with all the trimmings or BBQed ribs.  Buy 2 or 3 bottles while you are at it!

 

treaty-tree-233x1000Flagstone Treaty Tree Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot

South Africa
$16.95 (Vintages 278382) 13.5% alcohol

There was a buzz around the room about this wine.  Eyebrows were raising with each sip.  BIG and I mean BIG aromas & tastes in this plush red wine of black fruit (figs, dates) and bumbleberry jam.  Smooth texture & long finish – this was a great surprise. At this price, make it your weekday wine.

 

Dante Robino Bonarda

Argentina
$14.95 (Vintages 277640) 13.9% alcohol

Never heard of Bonarda grape variety? At this price, grab this wine & discover what you have been missing. Medium full bodied with concentrated aromas of red berries, plush texture in the mouth and well integrated tannins.  A food wine – bring on lamb chops or sit down to a hearty Sunday roast.

 

Grand total: $92.75

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Australian Shiraz Bonanza!

Posted by Debbie

Friday, August 24th, 2012
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When I say: Australian wines…what automatically comes to mind? BIG knock-em-outta-the-park-blockbuster Shiraz red wines.  Right?  There are so many Shirazes to choose from and most of us have our favorites, that at a recent Sommelier led wine tasting I hosted featuring wines from Australia, I chose 3 very different Shiraz wines.

And if a bottle or two of these wines don’t tempt your tastebuds to book a flight to Australia, then come with me to Taste your way around Australia – a 23 day food & wine tour in March 2013.  Get ready to pack your bags!

 

Campbell Winery Shiraz Durif

Victoria, Australia
$16.95 – on sale (regular $18.95)
VINTAGES 243592, 14.0% Alcohol

The Campbells are one of 12 family-owned wineries that make up Australia’s prestigious First Families of Wine. Together, this distinguished group represent 16 regions across 4 states with a combined working experience of more than 1200 years.

Today, two brothers Malcolm and Colin are the fourth generation to carry on the Campbell tradition started by their great grandfather John Campbell in the renowned region of Rutherglen in 1870. Malcolm as viticulturist while Colin is the winemaker.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: What is Durif? You might know it as Petit Syrah. Blended in to weave in the dark inky colour, earth & spice notes to the Shiraz characteristics of black cherry, blackberry & plums.  It is well balanced with good tannins, chocolate & black licorice finish. Durif is grown & used for blending primarily in Rutherglen wine region.

Suggested Food Pairings: This wine is begging a BBQ steak or lamb.

 

Ladies who Shoot their Lunch Shiraz

Victoria, Australia
$34.95
VINTAGES 243592, 14.0% Alcohol

If the name doesn’t grab you the outstanding taste will!  The Fowles family are committed to living off their land – farming & hunting the property. The previous vintage of this wine won the distinguished Great Australia Shiraz Challenge – setting this wine as a benchmark for all of Australia.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This premium wine is crafted with 96% Shiraz & 4% Viognier grapes matured in 100+ year old 5000 litre casks. It is notably lighter than most Shiraz wines. Deep garnet in colour with pepper, black cherry & plum with warm spices laced into light acidity & tannins that carries into a long finish.

Suggested food pairings: Serve with game of course!

Jip Jip Rocks Sparkling Shiraz

Australia
$16.90
LCBO 212472, 13.0% Alcohol
Sparkling red wine makes a striking impression when poured into a glass. It has become an Australian classic. Located in South Australia, the Bryson family have had this winery since 1851.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Dry & medium bodied, this charming sparkler has lovely aromas of sweet dark fruit (black cherry, plum & fig) with a thread of cinnamon & toffee. The violet coloured mousse has a lively texture with some toasty, chocolaty notes. Hints of spice & cocoa linger on the very finish that is reminiscent of wild blackberry & raspberry.

Suggested food pairings: Flavourful & fun, this is a great wine to enjoy by the barbeque on a warm summer day or with a rich chocolate dessert!

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