Posts Tagged ‘Accredited Sommelier Monique Sosa’

20 Questions: The ‘dirt’ on Derek Barnett

Posted by Debbie

Monday, February 5th, 2018
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All of us in the Savvy Team have been long-time fans of Derek Barnett. We were gung-ho to do our part when he launched his Meldville Wines by featuring Derek’s wines in Savvy Selections in July 2016. Since then, the wines and Derek as a new business owner have shone. The story about the winery in the beginning is the same! So, I asked Derek “20 Questions” about his career as a winemaker and threw in some personal ditties to get some ‘dirt’ on the man Derek Barnett. “But I don’t enjoy talking about myself”, said Derek. Here he is with the spotlight shining directly on him.

1. What do you take in your morning coffee or tea? Coffee is black, no sugar. Tea is milk, no sugar

2. What drink would you like right this minute? Malt Whiskey – it is 11pm right now afterall!

3. When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up? Always wanted to be a farmer – just like both of my grandfathers.

4. What was the very first winery that you ever visited? I have to think it was Stoney Ridge in Beamsville (Niagara).

5. What wine got you hooked? Oh my, I need two!! German Riesling – Jos.Jos. Prum Graacher Himmelreich 1976. Later on, it was Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc

6. Take a few minutes and jot down the path to becoming the winemaker you are today: Winemaking started for me at Southbrook Winery back in 1991 when it was located in Maple, sourcing fruit from Niagara Vineyards. In 2001 my wife Judith and I, moved to Niagara to begin Lailey Vineyard with Donna and David Lailey, Tonya Lailey and Yves Starrveld. Making small batch wines from the 23 acre vineyard that eventually was planted with 15 different vinifera grape varieties. In 2015, Lailey Vineyard and the winery were sold. Soon after, Judith and I started Meldville Wines, a virtual winery working from Legends Estate Winery in Beamsville – still making small batch wines from just a few less grape varieties!!

7. What is your winemaking style in 3 words: Rich balanced wines

8. Do you have music playing in the cellar while you work? No Music – can’t hear the wines talking!

9. Favorite thing about the local wine industry: I love it all. We are making great wines so getting together to taste and chat is pretty special.

10. Favorite thing about growing grapes: That answer is easy. Got to love the awakening in the vineyard each and every spring and looking forward to what is ahead.

11. What part of winemaking are you always trying new things? For me, it is always the fermentation

12. What is the unglamorous thing about winemaking? Getting in the tanks for remove the tartrates, getting in the press to scrub it clean at the end of the day……

13. Who have been your mentors throughout your winemaking career: There have been many people who have helped get me to where I am today, but none more than Bill Redelmeier – founder of Southbrook Vineyard.

14. What about personal mentors? That would be my brother Malcolm

15. What wine region do you want to visit next? Oregon

16. One surprising thing that I’m really good at: Winemaking! – he says with a giggle (photo credit: winesinniagara.ca)

17. When is your birthday (no year required!): Feb 20

18. My Birthday “Favorite Meal”: Risotto

19. What do you like to do when in you are not making wine? Golf. Long walks with my camera and bike rides with my wife Judith

And now for Question #20….

Since you are lucky to live & work in 2 wine regions – Niagara and The County – what are 2 of your favorite places that you’d recommend to take a break from tasting and touring to do? You know…the ‘local inside scoop’ 

In Niagara – I love to visit lock 3 of the Welland Canal – check the museum, soak up some history and watch the freighters going up and down the canal. The other place to get off the beaten track for a while is the DeCew Falls. Oh and if you are still thirsty – many local breweries with great patios.

In PEC – I don’t have a lot of time to when I’m in the County to explore but I love going to Lake on the Mountain – Lots to do (good beer and food), some great walks and almost always quiet.

 

 

Introducing…

Meldville Wines
By Savvy Sommelier Monique Sosa

July 2016

Derek has been a hands-on winemaker throughout his entire career since arriving in Canada. With the sale of Lailey Vineyards where he was one of the founding partners & long time head winemaker, sparked the new beginning in his life – the decision to start crafting wines under his very own label!

As he was getting ready to launch his virtual winery, Savvy Sommelier – Monique Sosa, caught up to Derek for August 2016 Savvy Selections feature. She taps into what motivates Derek, his pursuit to owning and operating his own winery, and of course, enjoy the inaugural release of Meldville wines. So here is her interview with Derek…

…who is Derek Barnett after all?

“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 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 Estate 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, 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. The symbolism behind the skeleton key represents an invitation to unlock a little bit of Derek into your glass. On the back label, you will find a photo of what once was the Meldville homestead in England. Altogether, it is a unique welcome symbolizing the inaugural release of Meldville wines.

This is just the beginning. 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.

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.

Any last words?

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’s wines are definitely WICKED! ·

For fun, here are 2 sets of tasting notes for Meldville Wines….one by Debbie Trenholm and the other by Susan Desjardins. Both are part of the team of Savvy Sommeliers and sampled these wines together other with others in the team.

Meldville 2nd Edition Chardonnay VQA 2016, $20

Debbie’s tasting notes:
Absolutely lovely with aromas that reflect into the tastes of apricots, pears, nectarine & warm apple crisp. Well rounded with light acidity & satin texture – oh my! I am so glad that I have a roast chicken with a trivet of root vegetables planned for dinner tonight. This wine would be a perfect pairing.

Susan’s tasting notes:
Found on Susan’ web site dedicated to reviewing Canadian wines www.winetimecanada.ca
Hardly surprising this enticing medium-full bodied barrel-aged wine was a gold medal winner at Intervin. Lovely aromas of pear, apple crisp and citrus zest harmonize with delicate notes of spice and a whiff of smoke. There’s refreshing acidity complemented by a satiny texture from extended time on the lees. You’ll enjoy tasty flavours of pear and caramel apple, fresh pineapple and citrus fruit touched with nutmeg. Balanced and mouth-coating, the wine delivers a long spicy, pithy finish.

Meldville 2nd Edition Cabernet Franc VQA 2016, $27

Debbie’s tasting notes:
Medium to full bodied impressive red wine that is expertly made by Derek. “Always a tough grape to get 3ripe”, he explained. Yet he nailed it! Complex aromas of dried cherries combined with espresso, cocoa, with a hint of roasted red peppers on the taste that lingers forever. Great with stews, pulled pork & spicy sausages

Susan’s tasting notes:
Found on www.winetimecanada.ca
This is a lovely expression of the character of ripe Niagara Cabernet Franc, offering notes of graphite, black plum and raspberry, cocoa and earth, with a light floral fragrance. Dry, medium bodied, there’s a savory character of roasted red pepper and dried herbs layered on ripe flavours of cherry and black berry, all underpinned by supple tannins and lively acidity. Hints of vanilla, cocoa and the earthy character of the wine replay through the extended finish.

Meldville Barrel Select Syrah VQA 2016, $27

Debbie’s tasting notes
At our last Taste & Buy event everyone….I mean EVERY-one was talking about this wine. Swiftly after this event, I made sure that Derek put a stash away you. Intense full bodied red wine that has deep aroma of red & black cherry, boysenberry wrapped up with a ribbon of campfire smoke. Each sip unveils a different taste of dark chocolate, cassis & a ‘dash of black pepper’ said Susan during our tasting panel. This is the wine to serve with your Sunday roast, or when you brave the cold to BBQ a steak.

Susan’s tasting notes:
Found on www.winetimecanada.ca
Alluring aromas of rich ripe dark fruit – think blueberry and cassis – lift from the glass, garnished with notes of pepper and sweet spice, spiced rose and milk chocolate. Dry medium-full bodied, there’s a firm underpinning of ripe tannins and fresh acidity, the flavours replaying—cassis and black cherry garnished with cracked pepper, hints of cocoa and cedar. The mouthwatering fruit-filled finish leaves a lingering flavour of chocolate-coated dried berries.

 

 

· Tasting Notes for the other Meldville Wines ·

Meldville Canadian Oak Chardonnay VQA 2016, $27

Debbie’s tasting notes:
I sooooo wanted to include this wine, but was swayed by the other Sommeliers to include more red wines in this month’s delivery….to warm up your winter! This unique wine was left to age in barrels made from native Canadian oak trees, resulting in a taste of oak that is elegant with aromas of toasted coconut, warm spices, fresh ginger, brown butter & a gorgeous texture.

Susan’s tasting notes:
Found on www.winetimecanada.ca
Tantalizing aromas of toasted coconut, stone fruit and citrus, oven-fresh brioche and browned butter lift from the glass of this classic ‘Barnett’ Canadian oak wine. Dry, medium-full bodied, the complex flavours include pear, musk melon and pineapple with hints of lime zest, ginger and buttered toast. Clean yet smooth in texture, the pithy finish is warmed by delicate spicy notes.

Meldville 2nd Edition Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2016, $20

Debbie’s tasting notes:
We did not pick this one only because it was ‘too summery’. That is not a bad thing! We just took into consideration that our subscribers were getting this delivery in the depths of January. Aromas & tastes of crunchy apples, lime & lemongrass, this wine has lots of verve & personality that will melt away all thoughts of windchills.

Susan’s tasting notes:
Found on www.winetimecanada.ca
Fruit was harvested three weeks apart, providing for the yin and yang of fresh acidity and tropical fruit flavours, some of the wine fermented in neutral French oak barrels, the majority in stainless steel. The result is a highly aromatic, floral wine with notes of orange blossom and sweet woodruff, passionfruit and citrus, garnished with notes of exotic spice. The palate echoes the refrain, displaying notes of passionfruit, fresh-squeezed lime, lemon grass and sweet herbs. Dry, juicy and showing an elegant backbone and a lovely silky texture, there’s a tangy flourish on the lasting finish. Pair with grilled halibut or seafood with a squeeze of lemon.

Meldville 2nd Edition Pinot Noir VQA 2016, $27

Debbie’s tasting notes:
Intense earth & cherry aromas dominate this medium bodied Pinot Noir. There is a thread of cloves with soft silky tannins that’s no wonder everyone in the Ontario wine biz is talking about this wine. A classy wine, yet we thought you’d rather bolder reds this month. If you are a Pinot fan…you’ll want to get some of this wine!

Susan’s tasting notes:
Found on www.winetimecanada.ca
Transparent ruby, this classic cool-climate Pinot Noir subtly seduces with a delicate nose of wild strawberry and dried cherry twined with hints of flowers and vanilla, sweet spice and forest floor. Dry, light-mid weight, the silky tannins and vibrant backbone of acidity frame tangy flavours of red berries, sour cherries and dried cranberries, the notes of clove, mineral and light toast adding depth and complexity. Balanced, elegant, the finish is long and juicy with a touch of spicy warmth. Serve with grilled venison tenderloin or salmon.

 

Enjoy these Savvy Wicked Wines!

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Derek Barnett is back…with his own winery

Posted by Monique

Friday, August 26th, 2016
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Meldville Wines
–  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.

Open your Savvy Selections & be ready to uncork these wines

– 2015 First Edition Meldville ChardonnayA 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!

FB Savvy Selections bottleEvery 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

 

Introducing…
Meldville Wines

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.derek

“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!

meldville

 

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.

Last words?

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 ~

 

2015 First Edition Meldville Chardonnay
meld_site_bottle_chardonnay

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

 

 

2015 First Edition Meldville Sauvignon Blanc meld_site_bottle_sauvignon

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

 

2013 First Edition Meldville Cabernet Franc meld_site_bottle_cabernet

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
Serves: 8

Ingredientssquash rissoto

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

 

Method

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
Serves: 2-3

shrimps w wineIngredients

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

Method

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
Servings: 8

Ingredientsbeef meldville

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
Olive Oil

 

Method

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!

 

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If I only had $100…I would buy at LCBO Vintages

Posted by Monique

Friday, August 5th, 2016
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vintages AugustThis weekend’s Vintages release at the LCBO showcases an exciting selection of well-crafted wines from all over the world that fit our budget.  

Since the world will be watching athletes from across the globe exercise their best efforts to make it onto the podium at the Rio Summer Olympics, I have been inspired to seek out select value wines from around the world that are podium worthy as well.

So, let’s have a look at my world tour of well-crafted, value for quality wines…

Cheers!
-Monique

 

 

 

 

 If I only had $100, I would buy at Vintages…
Saturday July 23, 2016

framinghamFramingham 2015 Sauvignon Blanc

Marlborough, New Zealand
LCBO Vintages 606848 | $18.95 | 12.5% alcohol

Temperatures are spiking and, at times, nothing seems more refreshing than sipping a chilled crisp Sauvignon Blanc under a patio umbrella.  I find the Framingham 2015 Sauvignon Blanc to be a high-ranking player in the “crisp patio whites” category.  This signature New Zealand white wine shows vibrant notes of  citrus zest, lemon grass and floral notes. The palate is bone dry, mouthwatering and finishes with a crisp zesty citrus note.  Enjoy pairing this Sauvignon Blanc with fresh oysters, king crab legs, poached lobster or ceviche.

 

nemeaEstate Papaioannou 2010 Single Vineyard Agiorgitiko

Nemea, Greece
LCBO Vintages 47977 | $20.95 | 12.5% alcohol

Greece, where it all began! As the birthplace of the Olympics, Greece could not be overlooked.  This weekend’s Vintages release actually showcases a decent selection of white and red wines from Greece, but the Estate Papaioannou 2010 Single Vineyard Agiorgitiko steals the podium.

Agiorgitiko – meaning St. George – is the most widely grown red grape variety in Greece, predominantly in the region of Nemea (northeastern part of the Peloponnese Peninsula). This red wine showcases an intense burst of perfumey floral and berry fruit aromas.

The palate is showing young , but polished tannins, a nice balance of acidity  and a long tart cherry finish.  Key flavours to note include red cherry, leather, tar, and dark chocolate. You may consider letting this medium to full bodied red wine sit in the cellar for another three to five years, but it is also drinking well now. Just be sure to decant this beauty for two hours prior to serving, and definitely try pairing it with beef tartar.

 

flat rockFlat Rock 2010 Twisted Red

VQA Ontario, Canada
LCBO Vintages 86918 | $24.95 | 12.3% alcohol

Let’s offer our shout out to Team Canada with the Flat Rock 2010 Twisted Red. Flat Rock Cellars is no stranger to the pro-athlete world. In 2013, this winery collaborated with three-time world champion and Olympic medalist figure skater, Patrick Chan, to craft one the most top rated Reisling icewines release in our market. This red wine with a striking blend of fleshy fruity berries and smoke.  Hailing from the Niagara Escarpment, this red wine shows hints of fresh cherry, cranberry, smoke and wet stone minerality. The acidity is mouthwatering, the tannins are young and grippy with a plump medium-bodied mouthfeel. I recommend drinking now, and enjoy pairing it with pulled port tacos.

 

mandusPietra Pura Mandus 2013 Primitivo Di Manduria

Puglia, Italy
LCBO Vintages 216457 | $16.95 | 13.8% Alcohol

 Our world tour continues with this gorgeous Italian red wine known as Primitivo.  Primitivo is the native grape of Puglia (the heel on the boot of Italy) and is actually the same grape as  Zinfandel. This full-bodied red wine showcases inviting perfumed aromas of rose petals, cherry, plum, graphite minerality, and a touch of vanilla. Even though the flavours appear sweet – berry jam, vanilla, sweet smoke – the acidity is high with mild balanced tannins and long dark chocolate finish.  It definitely reminds of a California style Zinfandels but with good complexity. It’s a great crowd pleaser and pairs well backyard BBQ ribs.

 

 shirazBest’s 2013 Bin No. 1 Shiraz

Victoria, Australia
LCBO Vintages 222323 | $19.95 | 14.5% alcohol

Finally, we a representative from Australia that excels in the “big bold BBQ red” category.  This red wine shows classic Australian Shiraz notes of pronounced eucalyptus, licorice, black plum, and black cherry. The palate is off-dry, chewy (young tannins) and mouthwatering. Flavours are an exact repeat of the aromas with added notes of cedar, vanilla, and a touch of earthy minerality. This Shiraz is full bodied with a long minted-berry finish. This red wine can certainly afford to sit for another five to seven years, but it is drinking quite well now after a couple hours of decanting.  Enjoy pairing this red wine with grilled lamb chops.

 

So, sometimes this happens, it appears that we are $1.75 over budget.
Altogether, this shopping list is worth extra pennies.

 Grand Total $101.75

 

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If I only had $100…I would buy at LCBO Vintages

Posted by Monique

Thursday, July 21st, 2016
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 Welcome to my first of edition of If I only had $100, I would buy….as a Savvy Sommelier, I speak fluent wine & I am a wine lover on mission… err budget. Since we are in the heat of the summer, I cannot think of a better way to cool off than scoping out some easy drinking summer sipping wines.

As much as I wish I could indulge in the most high-end bottles of white Burgundy, Champagne and California cult classics, I am limited to a very reasonable budget for this shopping spree.LCBO NEW VINTAGE Believe me, you do not need to win LottoMax to find a nice stash of good quality wines on the LCBO Vintages shelves. Leave it with me to seek out these wines for you.

Let’s jump right into it!

Monique

 

 If I only had $100, I would buy…
Saturday July 23, 2016

 

Boya 2015 Sauvignon Blanc 

Boya Sauvignon Blanc 2015Leyda Valley, Chile
LCBO Vintages 389726 | $15.95 | 12.5% alcohol

Let’s just start by noting that Chilean Sauvignon Blanc is “a grape to watch!” The Leyda Valley is a cool climate growing region in Southern Chile producing remarkable Sauvignon Blancs white wines and also to note Pinot Noirs. The Boya Sauvignon Blanc stood out to me for two reasons: it had classic notes of both a New and Old World style Sauvignon Blancs, and it’s a bargain!

The key aromas and flavours include lemongrass, passion fruit, canned green vegetable and fresh green herbs. Mark my words that Chile’s up and coming cool climate whites rivaling many others on the world stage, and this one is no exception. This easy going medium bodied white wine will pair well with grilled pork souvlaki drizzled in fresh tzatziki.

 

Redstone Limestone Vineyard South 2012 RieslingRedstone Limestone Vineyard South 2012 Riesling

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment VQA, ON
$19.20 (Vintages 381251) 10% alcohol

Redstone Winery – a sister winery to Tawse Wines – is one of the Niagara Escarpment’s newly opened wineries and there are lots to discover here! This Riesling is a great start. It showcases the extensive potential for more and more well-crafted wines in pocketed areas of the Niagara Escarpment. Pour yourself a glass and immediately notice the rush of minerality (winespeak: think of the smell of a shower curtain – yes a shower curtain!) in your face.

As you get past the intense interesting smell, you’ll notice citrus zest, wild flower honey and ripe stone fruit. Take your first sip and the deal is sealed! You’ll notice flavours of ripe red delicious apple, pear, honey and beeswax. The acidity is high and tasty and the finish is long. Enjoy pairing this wine with spicy Thai shrimp rice rolls.

 

Masi Rosa dei Masi 2015Masi Rosa dei Masi 2015 Rosé

Venezie, Italy IGT
$15.95  Vintages 377267  13% alcohol

Full disclosure: This wine caught my attention due to its gorgeous brilliant blush pink appearance. Once I gave it try I was even more attracted. This rosé is made from the Italian Refosco grape and a percentage of these grapes where dried before vinification, like they practice when making Reciotto, Amarone and Ripasso wines.

The aromas are dominated by floral notes. The palate is light-bodied, dry with fruity flavours and a crisp and refreshing acidity. Enjoy sipping this wine with a salumi or charcuterie platter while cooling off on a warm summer day.

 

Abad Dom Bueno Mencía 2008

Abad Dom Bueno Mencía 2008

Beirzo, Spain
$15.95  Vintages 291989  13.5% alcohol

What a bargain! Sips of this red wine will easily turn into glasses – and then perhaps even bottles – for a gloriously good time.

This Spanish wine is made from old Mencia grapevines in Bierzo (north west Spain). The aromas are pronounced with developing notes of ripe raspberries, black currants, cigar box, vanilla bean and earthy notes. The palate is dry with chewy tannins tamed by a complementary mouthwatering acidity, and layers of flavours, including cooked berry fruit, vanilla, cedar, and tobacco. Enjoy this robust Spanish red wine with grilled beef.

Caiarossa Pergolaia 2009

Toscana, Italy IGT
$31.95  Vintages 460098  14% alcohol

This is one for keeps. Meaning that it’s good to cellar for a special evening with family or friends. Or perhaps save until this winter. Heads up, like all wines in Vintages, get this wine while you can, because when it is gone from the shelves, it will not be available again.

This Italian red wine is a blend dominated by the iconic Tuscan grape – Sangiovese – and some Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. It is rich and robust yet fine and elegant. Key notes include red berries, black plum, sweet spice and smoke. It has terrific structure, balance, body and enticing length on the palate. Tannins are still young and chewy so decant 1-2 hours prior to serving. If you wish to cellar a couple of these bottes, it can sit for another 5-7 years. Enjoy with a prime rib roast.

 

And the tab comes to a…
Grand Total of $99.00!

 

 

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