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Posts Tagged ‘BC wines’

We’re now delivering BC wines!

Posted by David

Thursday, August 31st, 2017
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There was big news this past Canada Day – we announced that we’re going national! We now deliver wines from coast to coast to your doorstep.  Yes….you can now receive wines from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and all the wine regions in between delivered to your home or office.  Be Savvy and subscribe to Savvy Selections wine of-the-month club and our Sommeliers will introduce you to some amazing Canadian wineries, the owners and of course….outstanding wines.

This month in Savvy Selections, we feature our first BC winery – Noble Ridge Vineyards and Winery – a multiple-award winning winery from the Okanagan region. 100 per cent estate grown, Noble Ridge enjoys a micro-climate providing both north-facing and south-facing vineyards. Their full-bodied, richly flavoured wines will make you want to book a quick trip to BC!

 

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find 3 of our favourite Noble Ridge picks. We love the elegant style and powerful flavours of these wines!

2013 Reserve Chardonnay –Lush tropical fruit and citrus flavours
2014 Reserve Pinot Noir – Supple and fruity with deep berry aromas
2014 Reserve Meritage – This powerful Bordeaux-style wine will knock your socks off!

 

Wines with style

Noble Ridge has a wide selection of wonderful red and white wines that will excite your palate and meet your budget. This is a great opportunity to try some fantastic wines that aren’t available at the LCBO!

Call on us at any time you would like additional bottles of your favourite Noble Ridge wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections.  Your Canadian Wine Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca.

Cheers!
-Debbie & Savvy Team

 

 

Introducing…

Noble Ridge Vineyards and Winery

Presented by Sommelier David Loan

Imagine you’re on a family vacation, when your spouse announces that he wants to change the direction of his life and yours. That’s what happened to Leslie D’Andrea, Co-Owner and CEO of BC’s Noble Ridge Vineyards and Winery. “In 1998, Jim and I were on a three month sabbatical through the Mediterranean with our kids when Jim turned to me,” Leslie remembers. “He said he HAD to own a winery. And he wanted to make premium quality wine!”

Leslie continues by recalling, “We came home and started to look through Europe, Ontario, and the West. And after a few false starts, we found this property on January 1, 2001 and bought it a month later.”

 

Unique terroir

Jim and Leslie were impressed with the property’s unique situation. Winemaker Benoit Gauthier described it as, “a unique combination of everything: the land and the climate. It’s really good to have the two slopes of the ridge;  all of the reds are facing south where they get the heat and the sun, and all of the whites face north where they can develop acidity.”  Benoit explains, “The soil is sandy and drains well, meaning we get smaller, more flavourful berries.”

All about the curtain

It isn’t just about the terroir though. The team at Noble Ridge implemented a lesser-used trellis system, called the Geneva Double Curtain. It brings the shoots out into a double canopy so the fruit gets better airflow and sunlight. “We could get twice as much fruit with the Double Curtain,” Benoit said. “But I reduce the fruit to half so we can ripen the grapes really well per each vine.”

“By knowing the vineyard really well, I can select from the individual vineyards and ferment each batch separately, then do a high power blending,” he said. “That way they get the tannins and acidity I want.” Benoit said that he enjoys the end of harvest. “I get the best quality of fruit possible and I choose it for the most powerful and best quality wine,” he said.

 

Cross-border shopping

“One of the things we forget about is that we live in this very beautiful part of the world,” Leslie said. “We try to keep our guest areas close to the vines. We want our guests to walk through the vineyard and enjoy a picnic here. And we hire the very best staff to work here!” she said.

Leslie said that she likes the fact that interprovincial alcohol restrictions are slowly being lifted. “Direct to customer is our favourite way of selling,” she said. “It’s better for us and it’s better for the consumer. Working directly with our consumers is the smartest way and it’s growing.” All of us in the Savvy Team are ecstatic with the changes too because it means that we can broaden our scope to showcase even more hard-to-come by wines from coast to coast.

 

A day in the vineyard

Asked to describe his day at the winery, Benoit said he split into two parts. “Right now, it’s all about the position of the vines,” he said. “We’re positioning shoots and doing canopy management to ensure good airflow and exposure to the sun.  This afternoon in fact, we’re trial tasting our next vintage of The One,” he said, referring to Noble Ridge’s multi-award winning sparkling wine.

Leslie pipes in saying they have some exciting projects coming up. “We’ll have a sparkling rosé made from our Pinot Noir fruit in a couple of years. We’re working on it now from our 2016 vintage,” she said. “And we’ll be bottling some port in March, 2018!”

 

Let’s raise a glass to Leslie, Jim & Benoit and thank them for creating these special, fantastic wines!

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

For your Savvy Selection this month, we’ve chosen three wines – one white and two red – which show the power and finesse of the Okanagan Falls appelation.  Each one demonstrates the micro-climate and terroir of this beautiful wine region, enhanced by talented winemakers.

 

2013 Reserve Chardonnay, $29.90

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Winner of a number of awards, including a Gold Medal at the prestigious 2016 Pacific Rim International Wine Competition, this full-bodied Chardonnay was was fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged for 14 months in a mix of old and new French Oak. No malolactic fermentation took place, so the natural acidity remains.

This is a ripe, rich Chardonnay with flavours of lemon curd, green apple, peach and pineapple. The bright acidity balances the vanilla notes, leaving a long, soft tropical fruit finish.

Suggested Food Pairings: Perfect for your summer BBQ, this will pair beautifully with chicken or seafood. Try it with rainbow trout and a mango salsa. (recipe below).

Cellaring:  Drink at 8º C within two years.

 

 

2014 Reserve Pinot Noir, $29.90

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: To get the best flavours and ripeness from their Pinot Noir, Noble Ridge starts in the vineyard. They are one of the few wineries in BC growing Pinot with a trellis system known as the Geneva Double Curtain, which encourages more sunshine and fresh air to reach the fruit clusters. The wine was aged for fourteen months in French Oak barrels, 20 per cent new oak.

This is a complex, medium bodied wine which will stun your palate with candied fruit, red licorice, and sweet spice. The dark cherry flavours dominate, though, balanced with the soft, medium tannins and medium acidity. There’s a hint of balsamic here, too, and we finish long with black cherry and vanilla.

Suggested Food Pairings: There’s lots of oomph! flavour here and it will stand up well to red meats. Try it with beef shish-kabobs in a balsamic marinade (recipe below).

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, this could be cellared for up to 5 years. Serve between 14-16º C.

 

 

2014 Reserve Meritage, $34.90

This big Meritage was a hit at our recent Savvy Oh! Canada event, where guests lined up hoping to get a taste before we ran out (and we did!).

This Bordeaux-style blend is made up of 74% Merlot; 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cab Franc, and 2% Malbec. It was fermented for 15 months in French (75%) and American (25%) oak, of which 40% was new. The wine was subsequently bottle aged for an additional 14 months prior to release.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Dry, powerful, graceful: the adjectives roll off the tongue as the wine races along it. Loads of dark cherry flavours with hints of Okanagan sage, dark chocolate, leather, and plum. The tannins are supple but big, balanced by the medium acidity.

Suggested Food Pairings: Roast beef or a rack of lamb would pair nicely with this, but we’d like to have it late in the meal, seawith smoked and aged cheeses and Sprucewood Handmade Cookie Co’s savoury shortbread, available with your Savvy Selections order.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, this can cellar 5-7 years. Serve at 17-18º C.

 

 

 

What a view!
Photo credit: The Okanagan Falls Winery Association

 

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

 

With Noble Ridge Reserve Chardonnay…
Rainbow Trout with tropical fruit salsa

Recipe and photo: Epicurious.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
4 1/8 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1 cup diced pineapple, peeled and cored
1 cup diced peeled pitted mango
½ cup diced red bell pepper
½ cup diced red onion
5 cups mixed baby greens
4 rainbow trout fillets (5- to 6-ounce), skin on

 

Method

Whisk 4 tablespoons oil, lime juice, sugar, ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon Creole seasoning in small bowl to blend. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper. Combine pineapple, mango, bell pepper, and red onion in large bowl. Add half of vinaigrette; toss to coat. Toss greens in medium bowl with remaining vinaigrette.

Brush trout fillets with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with remaining 4 teaspoons Creole seasoning, about 1/2 teaspoon per side, then salt and pepper. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add trout fillets and cook until just opaque in center and browned, about 2 minutes per side.

Divide greens among 4 plates. Place trout fillets and salsa alongside.


 

With Noble Ridge Reserve Pinot Noir…
Beef Shish-kabobs with balsamic marinade

Recipe and photo: Melskitchencafe.com
Serves 4

Ingredients

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2-3 pounds sirloin roast, cut into 1-inch cubes (or same amount of chicken breasts, cubed)
1 red onion, cut into squares (optional)

Method

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Measure out 1/3 cup of the mixture and set aside for basting later.

Add the rosemary to the remaining marinade. Place the beef or chicken in a large, gallon-size ziploc bag and pour in the marinade. Seal and refrigerate for 4-8 hours (or as little as 20 minutes, although the flavor won’t be quite as pronounced).

Preheat a grill to medium heat.

If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak in cool water for 15-20 minutes. Thread red onion onto the skewer followed by meat and then a few red onions to finish off.

Whisk the reserved basting sauce to recombine. Grill the kebabs, turning every couple of minutes and basting with the sauce, until the beef is cooked to desired doneness (chicken should be cooked all the way through), 10-12 minutes.

Transfer the kebabs to a platter or plate and tent with foil to let rest for 5 or so minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

 

 

With Noble Ridge Reserve Meritage…
Rack of lamb with garlic and herbs

Recipe and photo: Epicurious.com
Serves 8

Ingredients

For lamb:
2 (8-rib) frenched racks of lamb (each rack 1 1/2 lb), trimmed of all but a thin layer of fat
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

For herb coating:
1/2 head new garlic or 3 large regular garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Special equipment: an instant-read thermometer

 

Method

Brown lamb:
Heat a dry 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until hot, at least 2 minutes. Meanwhile, pat lamb dry and rub meat all over with salt and pepper. Add oil to hot skillet, then brown racks, in 2 batches if necessary, on all sides (not ends), about 10 minutes per batch.

Transfer racks to a small (13- by 9-inch) roasting pan.

Coat and roast lamb:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Stir together garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, and oil. Coat meaty parts of lamb with herb mixture, pressing to help adhere. Roast 15 minutes, then cover lamb loosely with foil and roast until thermometer inserted diagonally into center of meat registers 120°F, 5 to 10 minutes more. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes. (Internal temperature will rise to 125 to 130°F for medium-rare while lamb stands.)

Cut each rack into 4 double chops. 

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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Got your tickets? BC, Ont, Quebec & NS wineries are coming to town!

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, June 15th, 2017
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The countdown to Canada150 & Ottawa2017 celebrations is on!  We’re celebrating in a BIG way this year – by showcasing wines from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec & Nova Scotia at our upcoming event: Oh Canada! Celebrate Red & White in Ottawa on Thursday, June 22 – next week!

100% Canadian wines.  You read that right…wines from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec & Nova Scotia will be available for you to Taste & Buy….then have your favorites delivered to your doorstep.

 

Don’t miss it!  Celebrate Red & White 

Corks will be popping at this all-Canadian Taste & Buy as we celebrate winemakers who have worked incredibly hard to put our country on the world wine map. Meet these Canadian wine rockstars, taste their wines that are WOWing the world…then order your favs to enjoy at home.

 

It’s THE event you have been waiting for…

The #1 question we get asked: Can you buy from BC, NS & Quebec wineries as well those in Ontario?  YES you can!  Oh Canada! Celebrate Red & White Taste & Buy event is all about ordering wines from BC, NS, Quebec and Ontario…then have them delivered directly to your home or office to enjoy all summer long.

 

Show your colours!  Buy a $80 ticket & bring a friend for FREE OR $150 for a foursome of Canadian wine lovin’ friends

Canadian cheese too!

What goes best with Canadian wines?  Canadian artisan cheese of course! Cheesemakers & our Cheese Sommelier will be serving samples of award-winning cheeses that you can buy onsite too.

 

Look who is coming:

From British Columbia…

Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery
Sperling Vineyards
Abeego

From Niagara…  

Legends Estates Winery
Reif Estate Winery
The Good Earth Food & Wine Co.
Two Sisters Vineyards
Westcott Vineyards
Vieni Estates 

From Prince Edward County…

Casa-Dea Estates Winery
Huff Estates
Karlo Estates
Keint-he Winery & Vineyards
Kinsip House of Fine Distillers
Trail Estate Winery

From other corners of Ontario & Ottawa…

Copper Tree Creative Studio
Mariposa Dairy
Pure Bread Bakery
Sprucewood Handmade Cookie Co.
St-Albert Cheese Co-op
The Merry Dairy
Top Shelf Preserves

From Quebec…

Ferme Guy Rivest
Fromagerie Montebello
Fromagerie Nouvelle-France
Fromagerie du Presbytere
Vignoble Carone Wines

From P.E.I…

COWS Creamery

From Nova Scotia…

Gaspereau Vineyards
Jost Wines

 

Wine Shopping Heaven! 

At this Taste & Buy event, EVERYTHING is 100% Canadian.

Create your own combo of Canadian wines to have delivered to your home after the event. You won’t find any of the featured wines at the LCBO – the wines will be delivered straight from the winery anywhere in Canada directly to you.  AND…there’s FREE shipping on 6 or more bottles of your top picks.

Bring a picnic basket & fill it up with artisan cheeses & gourmet treats too.

 

TIP: Be a V.I.T!

What’s a V.I.T? A Very Important Taster.  With 100+ wines, cheeses & goodies to try, purchase your tickets then upgrade each person for an additional $25 to get a V.I.T. Pass.   

You’ll enjoy red carpet treatment with advance access from 5 to 7pm to spend more time sipping & meeting the makers.  Stay as long as you like for the main event.

Buy your Ticket & V.I.T. Pass >>

 

Don’t miss this all-Canadian celebration! 

Buy your tickets >>   Event Deets

DATE: Thursday June 22 – next week!
VENUE: Horticulture Building @ Lansdowne Complex in Ottawa

TIMES:
V.I.T. Reception – 5 to 7pm ($25 upgrade pass per person is required)
Main Event – 7 to 9pm

ADVANCE TICKETS ONLY: $80 + bring a friend FREE  OR  Group of 4 people for $150
IDEA: Take the bus.  OC Transpo is FREE – simply show a printout of your ticket.

 

Wear Red & White…Win $50

Be a proud Canadian  – come to this Taste & Buy event dressed head to toe in red & white and we’ll automatically give you $50 off your ticket to our next Savvy Event.

 

Unable to make it, but want to order?

Don’t sweat it!  The Savvy Team will help you stock up on featured wines showcased at this event. Call 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or email us & we’ll send you the complete list of wines & online order form.  You too can get FREE shipping – your order needs to be received by midnight on Sunday June 25.

 

WIN TICKETS!  Go on the Savvy Scavenger Hunt…

Find this video on our Facebook or Instagram pages, then…LIKE it & POST the name of your favorite Canadian wine.  On Monday, we’ll pick 2 lucky people to receive a pair of tickets & V.I.T. Passes to join us at Oh Canada! Celebrate Red & White.  It’s easy to win!  On your mark…Get Set…GO!!!

 

Psst…it’s Father’s Day weekend!

Yikes…totally forgot? Our #1 Father’s Day gift is a subscription to our Savvy Hip Hops beer-o-month club.

Click here to subscribe your Dad for 4 or 6 months & his fridge will auto-magically be filled with the best craft beers from a different Ontario brewery each month – bottles, growlers & cans not available at LCBO or The Beer Store.  100% guaranteed to make your Dad smile from beer to beer!

 

We’re hiring…

We have cool summer job opportunities for a high school or university students to work with the Savvy Team at Savvy HQ in Ottawa. We’re looking for creative & savvy students who are keen to learn about Canadian wine, artisan cheese, craft beer & cider.

Interested?  Contact us on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send your resume to cheers@savvycompany.ca

 

Happy Birthday Canada!
Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

Savvy Company
613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)
cheers@savvycompany.ca
www.savvycompany.ca

Keep in touch with us…
@SavvyDebbie
@SavvyCompany
@SavvyWines
@SavvyHipHops
@SavvyCoolCurds
#CountyintheCapital
www.facebook.com/SavvyCompany
instagram.com/savvycompanyinc

 

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If I only had $100, I would buy these wines at Vintages…

Posted by Debbie

Friday, January 9th, 2015
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I can hardly believe that I am writing 2015! And what better way to start the new year but with “The Smart Buys Issue” from Vintages.  This makes my homework really easy when there are so many tried & true great value wines. I am also happy to report that the several new wines to LCBO`s Vintages do not break the bank.

Smart Buy WinesVintages magazine states, “The definition of value is the quality of something compared to the price paid for it”.  Many times I have written about finding an outstanding wine at a popular price point. It really feels like a bargain although I’m never sure of the price you can put on real quality. After all there are some quality wines at $15 and also at $20. So in this release, I challenge you to find your smart buys, albeit I‘ll help with a few suggestions in this shopping list below.

This Smart Buys issue also celebrates the 256th birthday of Robbie Burns and while I didn’t get around to tasting the Bunnahabhain 18-year old Islay Single Malt at $179.95 (Vintages #247049), I’ll bet you for those malt fans out there, it would not disappoint.

So let’s start our new year out right with some “smart buys” and we’ll just go from there.
Julie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…

Saturday January 10, 2015

 

Jan 10 See Ya LaterSee Ya Later Ranch Chardonnay 2012

VQA Okanagan, British Columbia
$17.95 (Vintages # 126912)  13% alcohol

With the highest elevation vineyard in the Okanagan Valley this lovely Chardonnay is an example of what British Columbia grapes can produce. Pale in colour, fruity, crisp, light and smooth, with tastes of soft apricots and almonds on the palate. It is a delicate Chardonnay with a soft buttery finish and a little lime zest. This white wine is wonderful on its own or try this with some Mac n’ Cheese – Monday night dinners will never be the same.

Haha 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand
$17.95 (Vintages # 388363)  13% alcohol

You just have to love a wine called “Haha” and I’m not sure if the winemaker was wanting to play a trick, but there was nothing tricky about this fabulous Sauvignon Blanc. Looking into it further, Hãhã is a Mãori word which means savoury and luscious. I`ll buy that!  The usual culprits descriptors for Sauvignon Blanc spring to mind: grapefruit and lime citrus, a little gooseberry (also known as cat’s pee – strangely, this is a good thing!).  This white wine is lively with a little pithiness on the finish and lots of fresh pizzazz.  Your taste buds burst with saliva which makes it a fabulous appertif. With some fig and hazelnut Raincoast crackers and soft cheese in an endive leaf it would be divine. A lovely new Sauvignon Blanc at a very nice price point.

Jan 10 Devils Corner wineDevils Corner Pinot Noir 2013

Brown Brothers, Tasmania
$23.95 (Vintages # 317966)  14% alcohol

On the east coast in Tasmania’s Tamar river valley lies the Devil’s Corner Vineyard. No doubt named on account of a treacherous bend in the river the winery has become a sanctuary for growing several award winning varietals entrenched deep with family history.  Soft aromas of cherries with herbs, a little forest floor and ripe plums on the palate to give this medium bodied, silky gem a delicious mouthfeel. Fine tannins and refreshing acidity make it an attractive companion with everything from charcuterie to rabbit.

 

Monasterio De Las Vinas Reserva 2006 

DO Carinena, Spain
$14.95 (Vintages # 166579)  13% alcohol

A beautiful deep ruby red wine with a heady blend of Grenache, Carignan and Tempranillo grapes, all being aged in either American or French oak for approximately 12 months. Rich ripe fruits in the aromas; black ripe plums and cherries spring to mind  that carry through on the palate with a little vegetal, peppery taste that adds interest to the melange of flavours. There’s little sweet spice on the long finish that makes this a lovely wine to sip on its own or with any grilled meats or strong cheese. There’s also enough fruit that I would say you could cellar for a couple of years.

 

Lafage Cote Sud 2012Jan 10 Lafage

IGP Cotes Catalanes, Roussillon, France
$14.95 (Vintages # 395236)   14% alcohol

After tasting some wines I have to go back and look at the price point, just to confirm I hadn’t mistaken it for more than its actual price tag. This is one of those wines that tastes like it is $10 more! Bright ruby and garnet with rich ripe currants and blackberries in the aromas and tastes. It’s full bodied and fruity with sweet spices lingering through the soft tannins in the aftertaste. It would be wonderful with any wintery roast with all the trimmings.

 

 

Grand Total: $ 89.75 (look what Ive saved you already!)

 

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Are you going to Taste 3 Remarkable Terroirs?

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
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Wine lovers…we are in for a treat!  We are excited to host Ann Sperling & Peter Gamble – the husband & wife team who, in my opinion, are rockstars in the wine world.

gamble_sperlingWhen Ann called me to talk about hosting this event I was thrilled.  Make that THRILLED! I first met Ann one cold January night in the vineyard when she called on me to help her with the ice wine harvest at Malivoire (she knew that I was in Niagara as we were going to meet the next day!). Since then, I have been an ‘Ann fan’ enjoying many wines that she has crafted at various wineries – CedarCreek, Malivoire, Southbrook & Sperling Vineyards to name a few where she worked as winemaker or as wine consultant.

And I have marvelled at all that Peter has been involved in too.  He’s a behind the scenes man integral in building winery projects (wine industry speak for wine businesses). Recently he has used his ‘Midas touch’ to help establish one of Nova Scotia’s finest wineries Benjamin Bridge. Knowing that every wine region around the world looks for a signature style of wine, he has been the driving force in the creation of Tidal Bay – Nova Scotia’s a premium white wine that is turning many heads in the wine world.grapes

And if they weren’t busy enough already, this dynamic duo has a project Versado in Argentina where they have been tending to some of the country’s oldest vines of Malbec & crafting incredible wines.

Ann & Peter never seem to stop!

They are making a quick trip to Ottawa (before they head to Argentina for this year’s harvest) to showcase their latest wines. Join us on Thursday March 20th for Taste 3 Remarkable Terroirs – a Taste & Buy event to enjoy & order wines from:

Sperling Vineyards – Ann’s family business that has transformed from being a grape growers & now is a winery making remarkable Okanagan wines.

Benjamin Bridge – one of Nova Scotia’s wineries specializing in uber-premium sparkling wines.

Versado – an amazing Malbec vineyard planted nearly 100 years ago that Ann & Peter have been restoring.

 

Try the wine…buy the bottle

At this Taste & Buy event you’ll have the unique opportunity to order the wines from these wineries to be delivered to your home or office. Special rates on shipping will be offered.

Join us or place your order online >>

BB logo

2009 Brut Méthode Classique $44.50 (new release)
2013 Nova 7 Sparkling $24.95 (new release)
2013 Tidal Bay $21.95
Wine Futures – barrel samples will be tasted at the event.  Wine to be released in June
2013 Vero $21.95
Wine Futures – barrel samples will be tasted at the event.  Wine to be released in June
2009 Borealis Icewine $39.95

 

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2008 Sparkling Brut $39.95
2012 Pinot Gris
$19.00
2011 Old Vines Riesling
$34.95
2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir $22.00 (released last week in time for this event!)
2012 Pinot Noir $26.00
2011 Old Vines Foch $26.00
2011 Late Harvest Gewurztraminer $24.95

 

Versado_logo

2012 Versado Classic Malbec  $24.95
2010 Versado Reserva Malbec
$59.95

Don’t miss this event!

We look forward to having you join us to meet Ann & Peter while you discover their remarkable wines from 3 different terroirs.
Advance tickets only $25 >>

 

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The Essence of Okanagan Wines

Posted by Susan

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009
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The 2009 Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival’s featured region was British Columbia – a treat for those of us who enjoy BC wines, yet rarely see the range of them here in Ontario.  The opening plenary, and a number of the trade seminars, provided a unique opportunity to meet and hear from the owners and winemakers, as well as to taste some of their most outstanding wines.

And then, to bring all these attributes together into fabulous wines, you have the “cultural mosaic” of owners and winemakers – pioneers Adolf Kruger and Anthony von Mandl, who left Europe for the BC interior; John Symes, one of the early pioneers who emigrated from New Zealand; Grant Stanley, a Canadian who spent many of his early years in New Zealand, only to return to the Okanagan to produce outstanding Pinot Noir; Lawrence Herder, who came back to the Similkameen after years of producing “big Cabs” in California; Tom di Bello, who has migrated up the coast from California ahead, as he said, of global warming; and the newer arrivals, Brooke Blair of Australia, who produced a Shiraz judged best in the world in 2004, her first vintage here; and Pascal Madevon, a Bordelais who moved his family to the Okanagan in 2002 and has become a Canadian citizen who produces outstanding Bordeaux-style blends.  The outstanding wines of BC are created from this mosaic of terroir, varietals and people, and are enhancing Canada’s reputation on the world wine stage.

BC wines ready to be enjoyed

BC wines ready to be enjoyed

As I listened to the various speakers, the concept of a mosaic came to mind.  In fact, many aspects of the wine industry can be characterized as ‘mosaics’.  The terroir includes a range of soil types, aspects, exposure, microclimates, elevation.  And this wide range of conditions facilitates growing many varietals, and ripening them in ways not found anywhere else in the world – from fully-ripened Cabernet Franc, to brawny tannic Merlot, to lean, crisp Riesling, Ehrenfelser or Gewurtztraminer with exquisite acidity.

 

 

 

These themes were threaded through the discussions and tastings, but an overarching theme was the “coming of age” of the BC wine industry.  As pointed out by the moderators, the industry has grown from 13 wineries and 1500 acres under cultivation in 1990 to now over 160 wineries with more than 9100 acres under cultivation.  Yet, BC is still a small player on the large wine world scene.  Quoting Scholefield, a well-known BC wine critic and one of the moderators, “Yellowtail began producing Pinot Gris two years ago, and now delivers approximately 1.5 million cases to the market.  This is the ENTIRE production of the BC wine industry.”  BC is a niche market that must be characterized by high quality wines, a unique story, and its incomparable terroir. 

Anthony von Mandl, owner of Mission Hill, said it is time to “take BC wines to the world.  As the Okanagan, as BC winemakers, we have to go to the world . . . There’s an enormous opportunity.”  There was a consensus that BC has what the world wants!

And speaking of the terroir, there were many discussions concerning the varying terroir from north to south in the Okanagan, and into the Similkameen valley.  According to Anthony Gismondi, wine critic and Editor-in-Chief of Wine Access magazine, his opinion is that while the rest of the world is attempting to move away from big, bold, powerhouse and overextracted wines, BC wines are naturally crisp, clean and fresh wines.  “Acidity is our friend” was an oft-quoted phrase, attributed to Grant Stanley of Quail’s Gate  

Howard Soon, a veteran of the industry and winemaker at Sandhill Winery, discussed his Pinot Gris.  “This is how we might describe BC white wine to the world:  lean, edgy, crisp, fresh.  Profoundly food friendly and appetizing.” 

As I listened to pioneers of the industry including Harry McWatters, who founded Sumac Ridge on a golf course; Anthony von Mandl, who founded Mission Hill and used to come to the Okangan for holidays during his childhood, as well as some of the more recent arrivals – Brooke Blair, Australian winemaker who immigrated to work at Jackson-Triggs and who made an immediate impression with her first Shiraz in 2004 winning best Shiraz in the world at the International Wine & Spirits Competition in London. 

Anthony von Mandl (standing with mic), Harry McWatters (sitting at right with beard)

Anthony von Mandl - owner of Mission Hill Winery (standing), Harry McWatters - founder of Sumac Ridge Winery (sitting at right)

There was also a significant amount of discussion regarding the unique character of varietal wines made from Cabernet Franc in the Okanagan.  Not only has the Cab Franc in the southern Okanagan been shown to have unique terpenes (winespeak: flavor components), it continues to ripen through the summer heat (some other varietals shut down temporarily) and well into the late autumn.  It delivers wonderfully rich, intense wines with aromas of cocoa and herbs.  And Merlot, which is often soft and round in other regions, is the tannic backbone of the outstanding red Bordeaux style blend wine created by such wineries as Osoyoos Larose (wine name: Le Grand Vin), Mission Hill Winery (Quatrain), Black Hills Winery (Nota Bene), Herder Winery (Josephine), the newly named Road 13 Winery (Fifth Element).  Tom di Bello, of CedarCreek Estate explained, “The Okanagan is one of the best places in the world to grow Merlot.  The fruit is bright, vibrant, with more natural acidity.  And we’re getting mature tannins with less sugar because the fruit ripens sooner physiologically.”

 

 

 

To these pioneers – old and new – BC’s microclimates are critical.  Early pioneers planted with their palates, for instance, trying to grow Pinot Noir in the southern Okanagan.  But the ‘heartbreak grape’ lived up to its reputation, suffering through the long hot summers.  It was soon either ripped out or grafted over with more suitable varietals, such as Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Shiraz.  Brooke Blair’s award-winning Shiraz thrives in the deep sandy soil beside a sun-warmed rock formation on the 49th parallel.  And winemakers have learned that the aspect and soils of the Black Sage bench are uniquely different from those of the Golden Mile, although these sites sit across from each other in the narrow valley near Oliver. 

Lawrence Herder explained that the components of his red assemblage come from three very different parcels in the Similkameen Valley.  “We’re barely discovering what to plant where.  Each section of the valley is a specific microclimate.”

But along with this diversity, there is a unique defining character to the wine of the Okanagan.  You might call it the essence of these BC wines.  Both David Scholefield and Anthony Gismondi highlighted the characteristic earthiness and the unique flavors of Okanagan wines.   “I think you’ll find a dry herbal character somewhere in every single one of these wines.  Herbal, savory character . . . when you see that, think Okanagan,” said David.  “I encourage visitors to get out of their car, walk off the road and look at the sagebrush and everything that’s growing there . . . and smell.  That scent is somehow transposed into our wines,” said Anthony.    

While there was great focus on the wines, Howard Soon reminded us all that you have to remember to lift your head up when you’re in the vineyard – there is a breathtaking view to be had, whether you are near the lake just south of Kelowna, in some of the higher vineyards near Okanagan Falls, or on the Black Sage bench near Oliver.  “Don’t forget the unique scenery that is the Okanagan.” 

So, if you’re planning a trip to a wine region, consider a visit to the Okanagan.  Whether you visit this dynamic wine region after next years Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival in 2010 (tip: the Okanagan Spring Winefest occurs April 29-May 8, 2010), during the peak summer months, or in the fall (the Fall Winefest is September 30-October 10, 2010), there are a wide range of wineries to visit, all led by people passionate about their wines and excited to share the fruit of their vines with you.

Drop me a note if you’re planning a trip to the Okanagan, as I’d be happy to help you plan your winery visits. 

Here are a few of the many BC wines I discovered while in Vancouver last month:

  • CedarCreek Ehrenfelser
  • Wild Goose Stony Slope Riesling
  • Thornhaven Estates Gewurztraminer
  • Road 13 Old Vine Chenin Blanc
  • Quail’s Gate Family Reserve Pinot Noir
  • Nk’Mip Qwam Qwmt Merlot
  • Burrowing Owl Cabernet Franc
  • Jackson-Triggs Sunrock Vineyard Shiraz
  • Herder Winery Josephine
  • Mission Hill Quatrain
  • Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin

 Cheers & Enjoy,

 Susan

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BC Wines & Pinots: What a combo at the 2009 Playhouse Winefest

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009
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Have I got you thinking about joining us at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival?  The Festival website now provides comprehensive information about all of the week long events planned from March 23 to 29, 2009.  Here are my ‘insider tips’ of some of the great opportunities available to all who participate – there will be over 180 wineries from 15 different countries pouring more than 1,600 wines at 61 unique events – heaven for any wine enthusiast!

This year, the Festival is an opportunity to showcase for the British Columiba wine industry to showcase it’s “coming of age”, showcasing over 150 grape wineries, several fruit wineries and thousands of acres planted to the vine.  The wineries of BC are driven to express the unique character of their terroir (winespeak for the microclimate, the soils, the vineyard aspect and the ‘je ne sais quoi’ of BC wines).  From Vancouver Island to the Fraser Valley to the Okanagan – from north to south – you’ll find wineries and wines that suit your palate.  Unfortunately, if you live in eastern Canada, you won’t see very many BC wines on your local wine store shelf as many of the wineries are relatively small.  Over 70% of their wines are snapped up by appreciative connoisseurs in BC and Alberta.  All the more reason to join the wine lovers heading join the Savvy Sommeliers in Vancouver.

Did you see the movie, Sideways?  Did you wish you were there, sampling all those wonderful Pinot Noir wines?  Well, here’s your chance.  The featured varietal at the 2009 Playhouse Festival is Pinot.

To quote the Festival organizers, Pinot is “believed to be derived from the characteristic pinecone shape of the grape bunches, the name Pinot encompasses a cluster of different varietals. Led by Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc – the Big Three, as it were – each grape asserts completely different characteristics and can be produced in a variety of styles. Pinot Noir can range from restrained and earthy to full and fruity, with every incarnation in between. Pinot Gris’ name even changes when the style changes. Pinot Grigio is used to describe the dry, grassy, refreshing style of Pinot Gris created by the Italians. Pinot Gris is generally fuller bodied when developed in cooler climates like Alsace, Oregon and British Columbia, where it can take on completely different flavours and reach amazing depths of complexity. And don’t forget about Pinot Blanc, which also produces fresh, exciting wines in a wide variety of styles. BC Pinot Blanc is reminiscent of summer fruit, pinched from the roadside fruit stand.”

If you come to the Festival, there are many opportunities to taste many BC wines and to sample Pinot from around the world.  For instance, on Monday or Tuesday, you could attend a winery dinner.  Consider tasting Burrowing Owl wines at the Glowbal Grill & Satay Bar, or enjoying Cuisine de Terroir at DB Bistro Moderne, paired with premium wines from Mission Hill Family Estate.

Consider a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on Thursday, when you can attend the Osoyoos Larose Component & Vertical Tasting.  I will be there!  Last fall, I had a private visit with Pascal Madevon, the French-born winemaker of Osoyoos-Larose, who asserted that he spends 80% of his time in the vineyards.  An engaging and articulate individual, Pascal talked about his passion for the vines, and his great expectations of his Okanagan wines.  I think you’ll agree this is a great opportunity to try the individual elements of this classic blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec.

The Pinot-Rama wine seminar on Thursday, led by Vancouver’s own David Scholefield, features an entertaining, educational tour of the world of Pinot, with a tasting of great pinots from around the world.  Friday and Saturday, join the thousands of people attending the International Festival Tasting, where over 180 wineries from 15 countries will be serving more than 700 wines.  Don’t worry, our Savvy Tasting Trails can help you find a path through the insanity.

Saturday, a wide range of lunch tastings are available, including:Our Land, Our Best (featuring BC wines), New Zealand’s Perfect Pairings, and Argentina’s Culinary Tango! 

You can also attend a wine seminar, Icons of British Columbia, which will feature benchmark examples of red and white BC wines.  Finally, if you sign up early, you might get a ticket to Sunday’s event-defining Vintner’s Brunch, where local chefs prepare delicacies artfully paired with a featured wine.  Or, if you prefer a Sunday evening event, consider the Great Estates of the Okanagan dinner, to be held at the Blue Water Café.

Excited?  Delighted?  Thrilled with the opportunity?  Don’t hesitate to contact Savvy Company for assistance with the planning of your trip to the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival.  Tickets are selling fast.  Get ready to pack your bags – I will be providing you more insider tips on my blog about the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival!

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